TEMPE, Ariz. — Britney Griner had 23 points and 11 rebounds to help the Phoenix Mercury advance to the second round of the playoffs with a 79-69 victory over the Seattle Storm on Wednesday night.
Phoenix will play at No. 4 Connecticut on Sunday.
Late in the fourth quarter, Diana Taurasi dribbled down the clock and found Leilani Mitchell for a corner 3-pointer on a cross-court pass for a 73-65 lead. Seattle’s Sue Bird answered with a long 3-pointer but Phoenix closed the game by making six straight free throws.
Taurasi only played seven minutes in the first half after picking up three fouls, but she finished with 14 points for Phoenix. In the second half, she became the second WNBA player to reach 1,000 career playoff points, joining Tamika Catchings.
Breanna Stewart led Seattle with 23 points and eight rebounds. Jewell Loyd was 0 for 7 from the field in the first half and finished with 17 points.
Loyd made her first field goal of the game with 42 seconds left in the third quarter and hit a 3-pointer on the next possession to pull the Storm to 53-46. But Mitchell beat the third-quarter buzzer to extend Phoenix’s lead to 10 points. She had 17 points in the game.
Arizona Cardinal stars Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson and David Johnson were in attendance at Arizona State’s Wells Fargo Arena. The Mercury’s regular home court at the Talking Stick Resort Arena was not available due to a scheduling conflict.
MYSTICS 86, WINGS 76
WASHINGTON — Elena Delle Donne had 25 points and 11 rebounds, Emma Meesseman added 16 points and 10 boards, and the Washington Mystics beat the Wings in the first round of the playoffs.
Washington opened the second half on a 21-7 spurt, with eight points by Delle Donne, to take a 55-41 lead. But Dallas went on a 9-0 run in the fourth, capped by Skylar Diggins-Smith’s fast-break layup, to pull to 71-67 with 3:13 left.
Washington’s Tierra Ruffin-Pratt missed two free throws with 43.2 seconds left, but Krystal Thomas hustled to the offensive rebound. Delle Donne was fouled and put the Mystics ahead by six at the 38.7 mark. The Mystics went 7 of 8 from the line the rest of the way to seal it.
Thomas added a franchise playoff record 17 rebounds for Washington (19-16), which had lost both its home games this season to Dallas. The Mystics await the outcome of the Seattle-Phoenix game later Wednesday night to learn their next opponent.
Aerial Powers scored 21 points for Dallas (16-19) before being ejected with 1:11 to play by picking up a second technical foul. Glory Johnson added 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Diggins-Smith was held to 15 points on 6-of-18 shooting.
Powers capped Dallas’ 13-0 run to close the first half with a steal and fast-break layup to tie it at 34.