Diana Tauarsi is still dreaming.
Taurasi was back to her dominant self, scoring a playoff career-high 37 points Thursday, after limping through Game 1 and the early rounds of the WNBA playoffs with an ankle injury.
In a wire-to-wire demolition, the No. 5-seeded Mercury took a 117-91 win over the No. 2 Las Vegas Aces to even their WNBA semifinal series at 1-1.
Tauarsi was 10-of-13 from the floor and 9-of-9 from the free-throw line. She was lethal from deep, knocking down eight 3-pointers. She added six rebounds to her stellar line.
— WNBA (@WNBA) October 1, 2021
Brittney Griner was also dominant with 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Griner set the tone early with 16 first-quarter points.
Five Mercury players scored in double figures. Phoenix scored a WNBA playoff-record 68 points in the first half, shooting 76.5% and knocking down seven 3-pointers. The Mercury finished shooting 60.6%. They outrebounded the Aces 36-23 and had 26 assists.
The final piece of the Big 3, Skylar Diggins-Smith chipped in with 17 points and five assists.
The Aces spread out the scoring and on any other night, it would have been enough. But the Mercury buzzsaw was too much to overcome.
The positives from tonight's 26-point loss?
A'ja Wilson: "We got out of it with arms and legs healthy."
— Chantel Jennings (@ChantelJennings) October 1, 2021
Liz Cambage, returning from a bout with COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated, played 25 minutes (up from 10 in Game 1) and scored 13 points.
Laimbeer confirms that Liz Cambage played in the fourth quarter for extra conditioning: “Liz showed tonight that she wants to compete.”
— Sam Gordon (@BySamGordon) October 1, 2021
Mercury unable to host WNBA semifinals at home arena
The series shifts to Phoenix, but the Mercury’s home arena is again booked and unavailable to host WNBA playoff games.
The Footprint Center is hosting Disney on Ice, so Game 3 on Sunday will instead be held at Arizona State’s Desert Financial Arena (3 p.m. ET on ABC). The 14,000-seat arena has hosted the WNBA team before and is a capacity upgrade from the first-round location of 7,000-seat GCU Arena.
For Game 4 on Wednesday, the NBA’s Phoenix Suns are scheduled to host a preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers at 7 p.m. local time. No time is set for the WNBA semifinals game, and it is unclear where it would be held.