When the season is on the line, Diana Taurasi comes to play. We’ve seen it time and again, ever since she first burst onto the scene as a freshman at the University of Connecticut, and we saw it again Wednesday night.
The Mercury tipped off the 2016 playoffs against the Fever in the debut of the WNBA’s new playoff format, which features single-elimination games for the first two rounds. And of course, there was Taurasi leading the way. She started off slow, not scoring until the 6:06 mark of the second quarter, when she hit a three-pointer that set the WNBA record for most postseason triples.
By halftime, she only had six points, and the Mercury were trailing by three. So coming out of the break, Taurasi did what Taurasi does: She took over. First a three, then an assist to Candice Dupree, then a layup, and just like that, Phoenix was in the lead. Taurasi would go on to score 14 of her game-high 20 points in the second half as the Mercury pulled away for an 89-78 victory.
The victory moved Taurasi’s record in elimination games in the WNBA to 12-3, and over those 15 games, she’s now averaging 22.6 points while shooting 48 percent from the field, 40 percent from downtown, and 89 percent from the line. She’s not only scoring, however, pulling down 5.2 rebounds and dishing out 4.2 assists in those games.
As you can see below, all of those numbers — except assists, which are essentially the same — jump when the Mercury’s season is on the line. If you include the NCAA tournament during her college career and Olympic play, Taurasi’s elimination game record jumps to 43-4.
Forty-three and four.
|Stat||Regular Season||Playoff Elimination Game|
On Saturday, those impressive stats, and Taurasi’s brilliant record in elimination games, will be put to the test once again, as the Mercury travel to “The Mecca, Madison Square Garden, for another one-and-done game against the New York Liberty.
Tune in to NBA TV or ESPN3 at 7 PM ET, because you won’t want to miss this one. After all, as history has shown us, Taurasi is likely to put on quite the show.