Griner Dunks, Mercury Sweep Sparks
"We're going to look at the film, get with the players and work to make adjustments," Sandy Brondello said after the Mercury's 75-72 win in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
She meant it.
That is to say, after an uncharacteristically poor shooting night in Game 1, the Mercury never trailed in Game 2 Sunday and led by double-digits the entire second half en route to an impressive 93-68 win.
Phoenix swept the series against the Sparks and will face the Minnesota Lynx in the Western Conference Finals for the third time in four years.
The series begins at home in Phoenix on Friday, August 29 and tickets are on sale now. As a reminder, the Mercury will have home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
"I thought we had a better approach to this game," Sandy Brondello said afterwards. "There were some things we felt like we needed to correct after Game 1 and we worked to do that. I thought we had better energy and a better mentality today."
Brittney Griner scored a career playoff-high 21 points, but she will likely be remembered for her breakaway two-handed dunk that brought the STAPLES Center crowd to its feet. Griner's dunk has already been considered the greatest jam in WNBA history.
"That's what I do," Brittney Griner joked with a smile. "I just saw they were getting ready to pass it and was lucky enough to steal it and dunked it."
Indeed, the entire Mercury team contributed to the series win. Erin Phillips was magnificent off the bench finishing with seven points, seven assists and four rebounds. Penny Taylor scored 17 points and Candice Dupree had 16 points and eight rebounds. DeWanna Bonner played suffocating defense and finished with three steals.
"We are an unselfish group," Diana Taurasi said. "We have great chemistry with each other. Brittney stepped up today, Penny [Taylor] had a good game, DB [DeWanna Bonner] had some great steals and our bench played great. Sandy puts us all in a great position to succeed and it makes it a lot easier on the players."
As a team, the Mercury out-rebounded the Sparks 34-25, forced 14 turnovers and were aggressive in attacking the basket to finish with 54 points in the paint.
"They're like the Spurs," Candace Parker said about the Mercury. "That's how you play basketball."
Phoenix shot over 70 percent from the field in the first quarter and 53.5 percent for the game.
The Mercury hosts the Lynx in Game 1 of the 2014 WNBA Western Conference Finals on Friday, August 29 at 7 p.m.
The Mercury bench who combined to score 19 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
A playoff career-high in points to go along with the best dunk in WNBA history? Yeah, Player of the Game goes to Brittney Griner.
STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT
30 - the Mercury's largest lead against the Sparks on Sunday.