WNBA

WNBA Playoffs 2021: Phoenix Mercury clinch Finals berth behind clutch plays by Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner

When it mattered, the veteran duo for the Phoenix Mercury stepped up and led the franchise to an 87-84 victory in the winner-take-all Game 5 of the WNBA Semifinals against the Las Vegas Aces.

Leading into the final quarter of the game, the Mercury were trailing 66-58 but in the ensuing fourth quarter, the superstar pair of Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner came up huge. Not only were they the two leading scorers for the game, but they also came with clutch plays that swung the momentum.

Griner scored a game-high 28 points while grabbing nine rebounds, however, arguably her biggest play was the clutch block on the league's 2020 MVP A'ja Wilson in the final seconds.

While Griner might have sealed it, Taurasi - a former two-time Finals MVP - put Mercury in front late with her red-hot fourth quarter.

In the final period, she scored 14 of her 24 points and was responsible for 16 of the team's 29 points.

Her shot-making helped the Mercury come back from their largest deficit of 10 late in the third quarter that was powered by a 14-0 run for the Aces.

Wilson and Chelsea Gray, on her birthday, were among the top contributors for the Aces. Wilson finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and three assists, scoring six of the team's 14-0 run, while Gray finished with 22 points and six assists.

Recently named Sixth Woman of the Year, Kelsey Plum also dropped 22 points in just 29 minutes of action. Both teams posted nearly identical shooting numbers, with the Aces beating out the Mercury 38-29 on the glass. In the end, it wasn't enough.

The victory sends the Phoenix franchise to their fifth appearance in the championship round and first since 2014, having gone 3-1 in their four instances. The fifth-seeded Mercury advance to face the sixth-seeded Chicago Sky on Sunday (ET).

Meanwhile, for the Aces, this is the third time in three years that they have lost in the Finals or the penultimate rounds having lost in the WNBA Finals in 2020 and the Conference Finals in 2019.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

More from NBA.com

Anthony Davis, LeBron James
Lakers Big 3 'very frustrated' after 3OT loss
Yash Matange
Phoenix Suns
By the Numbers: Suns' 15-game win streak
Yash Matange
Warriors
Warriors dismantling opponents in 3rd quarters
Yash Matange
Gordon Hayward, P.J. Washington, Kelly Oubre Jr (Charlotte Hornets)
Hornets continue surge, win 5th straight at home
Nick Metallinos
Ja Morant
Latest on Ja Morant's knee injury
Yash Matange
Gary Trent Jr.
Latest on Gary Trent Jr.'s injury
Yash Matange
More News