Taurasi helps Mercury rally past Liberty 104-97 in OT
NEW YORK (AP) — Diana Taurasi came up with the big play to send the game to overtime and Candice Dupree took over in the extra period to get Phoenix the victory.
Dupree scored eight of her 26 points in OT and Taurasi added 24, including three key free throws near the end of regulation, to help the Mercury rally to beat New York 104-97 in overtime on Sunday, ending the Liberty’s six-game winning streak.
“We stood in there, got some stops. (Brittney Griner) was fantastic today. Dupree (too),” Taurasi said. “Everyone did just a little bit and we got the win.”
Phoenix (6-9) trailed by 10 heading into the fourth quarter before rallying. The Mercury tied the game at 89 on Taurasi’s free throws with 7.8 seconds left. Tina Charles had a chance to win it for New York in regulation but her baseline jumper was short.
Phoenix was 27-for-33 from the foul line, including going 17 of 22 in the fourth quarter and overtime. New York was 12 for 15 for the game.
“You know, it happens. The whole fourth quarter was frustrating. They couldn’t score except at the free throw line,” New York coach Bill Laimbeer said. “Almost every one of their points seemed like was at the free throw line. I know it wasn’t that case, but it seemed that way. I know they shot a lot. Thirty-three free throws for a game is a significant amount for what we shot and that was disappointing.”
Dupree was 11 for 13 from the field for the Mercury, who are ninth in the AP power poll. Her basket gave the Mercury a 101-95 advantage and the Liberty couldn’t get closer than four the rest of the way.
New York (10-5) was playing its third overtime game in its last four and had its longest winning streak since 2010 when the team won 10 straight. New York heads out for a three-game road trip to Minnesota, Phoenix and Los Angeles.
Charles scored 26 points and Sugar Rodgers added 23 for the Liberty.
The Mercury jumped all over New York, scoring 18 of the first 22 points. The Liberty chipped away and trailed by one at the half. They led 56-55 with 2:39 left in the third before outscoring Phoenix 11-2 the rest of the quarter.
Phoenix cut its deficit to 85-84 on Taurasi’s 3-pointer from the corner with 1:16 left. The teams traded baskets over the next 40 seconds.
Charles then hit a tough sweeping hook across the lane with 20.6 seconds left to make it 89-86 with 20.6 seconds left. But Taurasi, shooting a 3-pointer, was fouled by Tanisha Wright with 7.8 seconds left to tie it.
All-Star Kelsey Bone played nearly 8 minutes for the Mercury, scoring six points. She was acquired Saturday night and had arrived in New York a few hours before the game.
The Liberty, who are third in poll, honored their inaugural 1997 team before the game. The players were introduced using their original video introductions, much to the delight of the crowd that included the first WNBA President Val Ackerman. The Liberty fans gave a long ovation to former players.
U.S. Olympic coach Geno Auriemma was also in the crowd, receiving hugs at halftime from Taurasi and a few other players.