The extension of the Phoenix Mercury’s record-setting regular season and the Minnesota Lynx’s quest for a fourth-consecutive conference title will come down to one game.
The Lynx pounced on an 82-77 win over the Mercury Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis in Game Two to force a Game Three of the Western Conference Finals at 7 p.m. Tuesday at US Airways Center. The winner will be the prohibitive favorite to defeat either the Indiana Fever or Chicago Sky in the WNBA Finals next week. The Fever can close out the Sky in Game Two of their series at 1 p.m. PT Monday in Chicago. All of these games can be seen on NBATV.
League MVP Maya Moore of the Lynx put her nine-point performance in Game One to the side in scoring 32 points Sunday, eight over her season average.
The Mercury had led 22-9 after the first quarter, and the game was knotted at 75-75 with 23 seconds left when Seimone Augustus converted a three-point play, leading to Moore and Rebekkah Brunson icing it from the line. Augustus scored 23 for the game, Brunson grabbed 10 rebounds, and Lindsay Whalen scored 17 while dishing seven assists for the Lynx.
Diana Taurasi led the Mercury with 23 points, Candice Dupree collected 18 points and nine rebounds, and Brittney Griner scored 14. Minnesota was able to shutdown DeWanna Bonner, limiting DB to three points on 0-of-6 shooting, although she did grab seven boards.
Luckily for the Mercury, it will play the decisive game in a building where it has lost only once this season, one that finished with the most regular season wins (29) in league history. Having won the championship in 2011 and 2013, the Lynx is seeking to join the 1997-2000 Houston Comets as the only teams to appear in four-straight Finals, and Moore has advanced to that round in each season of her career.
A win for the Mercury will advance it to the fourth Finals series in franchise history (1998, 2007 and 2009).