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The Mercury Knocked Off The Storm In OT To Reach The WNBA Semifinals

Two legends and future Hall of Famers met for, possibly, the final time on Sunday in Seattle as the Storm played host to the Phoenix Mercury in the second round of the WNBA Playoffs. Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi played pivotal roles in what became an overtime thriller, with Taurasi burying some key buckets in overtime to lift Phoenix to a semifinal series.

The two teams traded leads and big shots in the fourth quarter, headlined by Sue Bird who was sensational for the Storm in the fourth, refusing to let her team bow out whenever Phoenix gave them a punch. Bird had 16 points and five assists on the afternoon, coming alive down the stretch.

On the other side, it was Britney Griner who was a force down the stretch inside, simply dominating anytime the Storm dared to send single coverage her way. Griner finished the game with 23 points and 16 rebounds to lead Phoenix in both categories.

The final minute of the game wasn’t exactly an offensive clinic from either team, with stagnant sets, missed free throws, and questionable isolation play that saw the game get sent to overtime on this Mercedes Russell block of Skylar Diggins-Smith.

In overtime, the Storm went up early on a three and were looking to extend it, but Brianna Turner got a massive block that led to a Taurasi three to tie it up, as she got going when the Mercury needed it the most.

Taurasi would hit a baseline jumper after that to give Phoenix a lead, one they wouldn’t relinquish again as they held on through the foul game at the end for an 85-80 win. They’ll have to wait for the Lynx and Sky game to conclude to know which of the Sun or Aces they’ll play next in a five-game series, but have had it rolling with a balanced offensive attack thus far, as Skylar Diggins-Smith had another 20-point outing (with seven rebounds and six assists), and Brianna Turner added 12 points and 12 rebounds.

For the Storm, it’s possibly the end of an era as Sue Bird will contemplate retirement. She and Taurasi did an emotional on-court interview afterwards reflecting on their battles over the years, followed by a jersey swap between a pair of all-time legends.

We’ll find out later whether this will indeed be it for Bird, but if nothing else she and Taurasi gave us one final incredible showdown after giving the game of basketball so much for two decades.

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