Taurasi Dismantles Lynx, carries Mercury to 4th WNBA Finals
Another championship could be headed to the Valley of the Sun, in the coming weeks. After last night’s decisive (96-78) victory, Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury closed out their playoff series with the Minnesota Lynx and have advanced to the 2014 WNBA Finals. Over the last few years, Minnesota has emerged as one of Phoenix’s bigger adversaries. During their championship runs in both 2011 and 2013, the Lynx were responsible for knocking the Mercury from the playoffs and eliminating them in the Western Conference Finals.
After Phoenix learned of an impending third meeting with the Lynx, the ladies were determined to make sure this series would have much different results. The Mercury jumped out to an early series lead, after a dominating home performance to grab game one from their West Conference rivals. However, they suffered a series split after dropping a sloppy game two in Minnesota. Which brought-forth the drama of a deciding “win or go home” Game three. With the series on the line, Taurasi was driven to make sure her team-mates would get their chance to try and experience a WNBA championship. She absolutely stole the show in last night’s thrilling win, exploding for 31 points, seven assists and five rebounds. She also hit a miraculous shot at the third-quarter buzzer, as time was about to expire. What’s impressive is that she made the shot from behind half-court. Diana herself was even in disbelief after watching it in the highlight-reel.
“It’s been a while since we’ve gotten this far,” Taurasi said of the Mercury’s most recent trip to the WNBA Finals, in 2009. “But when we’ve lost in the playoffs, I didn’t go home sad. I went home feeling like our group of 11 players made it as far as we could. Championships are hard to win, especially when you have to play a great team like Minnesota.”
After her big night, team-mate Penny Taylor gave her own thoughts about the game.
“I have played with a lot of great players, and against a lot of them,” Mercury teammate Penny Taylor said. “There’s no one that wants it more. I don’t think she ever stops and says, ‘Yeah, I’m good enough,’ or ‘I’ve won enough.’ She works at it every single day.
The Mercury now have a chance to do something very special. They have a unique opportunity to win the organization’s third championship title, to go along with their (2007) and (2009) championships. A series win would tie them with the Tulsa Shock, (formerly known as the Detroit Shock) for the 2nd most championships in WNBA history. It would also cement Diana Taurasi’s career with three WNBA championship titles. Regardless of what the results may be, Taurasi will definitely go down in history as one of the greatest women to ever play the game.
Phoenix Sports-Kings Contributor Stephn Baldetti @StephnBdettiSK