FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs. Mercury – Semifinals Game 2

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (1-1)  |  Phoenix Mercury (1-1)



The Las Vegas Aces fell 117-91 in Game 2 of the WNBA Semifinals to a red hot Phoenix Mercury team that rode the backs of their two superstar players. Diana Taurasi led all scorers with 37 points and Brittney Griner finished with 25. 




Franchise Sports Media: Aces vs Mercury
Photo Credit: TQ (@TQtheTrojan) For Franchise Sports Media

The Mercury jumped out to an early lead for the second game in a row, with Brittney Griner being the catalyst this time. The 11-2 start spurred an early timeout from Bill Laimbeer, who quickly inserted Liz Cambage from the bench. Las Vegas’ offense woke up following the timeout, but their defense failed to answer the call as Skylar Diggins-Smith and Griner controlled the tempo and pushed the score to 31-15. Griner’s array of moves was on full display for Phoenix, and no Aces player could do anything about it. Her 16 first-quarter points gave the Mercury a 37-20 lead at the quarter’s end.

Diana Taurasi burned Vegas’ drop coverage early in the second quarter. Her two three-pointers off the dribble put Phoenix up 18. But as they did in Game 1, Riquna Williams and newly named WNBA 6WOTY Kelsey Plum got both the team and crowd going with some offensive spark. The rally continued on with defense turning into offense. A 6-0 run cut the Aces’ deficit to 10 points with three minutes to go in the half. DigginsSmith and Shey Peddy responded with a pair of three-pointers to temporarily quiet the crowd and restore order. Phoenix maintained the momentum and ended the second quarter ahead 68-52.


Franchise Sports Media: Aces vs Mercury - Shaquille Oneal
Photo Credit: TQ (@TQtheTrojan) for Franchise Sports Media

Defense controlled the opening minutes of the quarter, and both teams cooled down on the offensive side of the ball. Las Vegas eventually found a way to put the ball in the basket and cut the Mercury lead to 12, but Taurasi responded with six straight points to bump their lead back to 18. Whatever punches the Aces threw, Taurasi and Griner were there to counter with a more brutal variety of their own. Their barrage of points powered the Mercury to a 98-78 lead heading into the final frame.

Again, Taurasi opened the quarter with consecutive threes, and then a third opened up the Phoenix lead to 25. If the game wasn’t already over before that onslaught, it certainly was at this point. Las Vegas remained unable to answer anything that the Mercury offense threw at them, and the life was slowly taken out of the arena. The fans sat helpless as Diana Taurasi’s playoff-best 37 points led the Mercury to a lopsided 117-91 victory to even up the series.






Scoring – For all of the Aces’ problems in Game 2, their offense wasn’t one of them. They scored 91 points, shot 52 percent from the field, and recorded 21 assists with just six turnovers. If they have similar offensive output next game, I’d expect the Aces to win Game 3.




Defense –  It’s hard to imagine that the Aces’ defense could play any worse than they did on Thursday night. They had absolutely zero answers for Taurasi or DigginsSmith in the pick and roll and zero defense for Griner’s post-ups. Phoenix scored 37 points in the first quarter, 68 by halftime, and 98 at the end of three quarters.

Superstar PlayLiz Cambage and A’ja Wilson are household names who have the ability to take over games on the offensive end completely. Yet, Vegas got away from them on offense and it took both players out of the flow of the game. Look for that to change in the upcoming games.



The Aces will travel to Phoenix to face the Mercury for Game 3 of the WNBA Semifinals on Sunday, October 3rd. Tune into ABC at 12:00 p.m. PST to follow the action live, and remember to check back here for the game recap.

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-Cole Huff– Franchise Sports Media

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