SEATTLE – Sue Bird scored 19 points, including the go-ahead basket with 1 minute, 3 seconds left in overtime and two clinching free throws with 2.1 seconds left, to help the Seattle Storm recover from blowing a 17-point fourth-quarter lead and beat the Phoenix Mercury 91-87 in the second game of the WNBA semifinals Tuesday night.
Seattle has a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series, having won Sunday’s first game by an identical score.
Breanna Stewart led Seattle with 27 points, getting 14 in the third quarter to help the Storm build a 19-point advantage.
But Phoenix, which was still down by 17 at 73-56 with 6 minutes left, went on a 23-6 run to end regulation, tying it on an incredible 3-pointer from the left corner by Diana Taurasi with 3.7 seconds left. It was her third 3-pointer in the final 1:36 of the fourth quarter. Taurasi finished with 28 points.
Stewart had a chance at the winner for Seattle in regulation, but her turnaround shot from the right of the hoop bounced off the rim.
The Mercury went up 85-81 with 3:21 left in overtime and were still up 87-85 as the clock ticked inside the 2-minute mark. Jewell Loyd hit 1 of 2 free throws with 1:31 left, cutting it to 87-86. Bird then drove for a layin and an 88-87 lead at the 1:03 mark.
Phoenix had two shots before Alysha Clark secured the rebound for Seattle with 28 seconds left. Bird missed a layup try, but the Storm twice won jump balls in the final seconds and went to the line on both. Loyd hit one with 6.1 seconds left, then Bird drained her two at 2.1.
Brittney Griner of the Mercury had a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 3:53 left in overtime.
Decisive from downtown
During the regular season, the Storm and Mercury were two of the better-shooting teams from 3-point range. Until the fourth quarter on Tuesday, it had been all Settle from downtown, as the Storm were 7 of 16 while Phoenix had missed all 14 of its attempts. But Phoenix then drained five in a row – three straight by Taurasi in the final 1:36 of regulation to help force overtime, then one by Bonner and one more by Taurasi in the first 1:39 to help provide an 85-81 lead. The Storm wound up at 7 of 19; the Mercury hit 5 of 19.
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