CHICAGO (AP) — Diana Taurasi and Candice Dupree scored 24 points each and the Phoenix Mercury, playing without star center Brittney Griner, beat the Chicago Sky 87-82 Friday night to complete a three-game sweep of the WNBA Finals for their third championship.
DeWanna Bonner added 12 points for the Mercury, who also won titles in 2007 and 2009. Griner sat out following surgery to correct a retinal issue after she was hit in the right eye in Game 2.
Elena Delle Donne scored 23 points, Sylvia Fowles had 20 points and Allie Quigley had 19 for the Sky.
Taurasi hit a tiebreaking short jumper and was fouled with 14.3 seconds left and she made the ensuing free throw to put Phoenix up 85-82.
Delle Donne missed a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left, and the Sky fouled Penny Taylor, who made both free throws with 9.3 seconds left for the final score.
Taurasi, who was 4 for 9 on 3s, scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and became the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer in the finals. Phoenix, which had a WNBA-record 29 wins during the regular season, shot 49.3 percent overall from the field.
Griner traveled to Chicago on Friday and shot around during pregame warm-ups. She said it was a doctor’s decision to sit out.
“They wanted to make sure I was OK for the future, so I’m still day by day right now,” she said.
Instead of Griner, the Mercury started 6-foot-4 Ewelina Kobryn at center.
Phoenix tied it at 67 in the fourth after three free throws. Jessica Breland was whistled for a technical after Bonner was fouled. Taylor made the technical free throw, and Bonner hit both of her foul shots before.
Taurasi then made a 3 and a jumper to put the Mercury ahead 72-67.
After the Sky cut the lead to two, Taurasi answered with a 3 with 5:02 left.
Courtney Vandersloot’s jumper with 3:32 left was the Sky’s first field goal in nearly 6 minutes, cutting Phoenix’s lead to 77-74.
Taurasi completed a three-point play a minute later for a four-point lead before Delle Donne cut it to two again. Quigley’s jumper tied it with 33.1 seconds left before Taurasi took control.
Phoenix’s sweep in the finals was the fourth in the last five years, and fifth since the championship round went to a best-of-five format in 2005.
Chicago was the first team with a losing record during the regular season to reach the finals.
The Mercury led by as much as five in the third quarter. Taurasi was called for a technical foul with Phoenix ahead 51-48, but Delle Donne missed the free throw. Fowles’ layup tied it at 59, Delle Donne’s two free throws gave the Sky the lead, and Quigley’s jumper put the Sky up four with 29.1 seconds left.
Dupree then scored to pull Phoenix within two going into the fourth.
Phoenix led 45-43 at halftime. Dupree, a former Sky player, had 14 points and Taurasi added 10 for the Mercury, who shot 57.1 percent from the field and were 3 for 7 from beyond the arc. Fowles had 14 and Delle Donne added 11 for the Sky, who shot 44.7 percent.
Phoenix had averaged 57 percent shooting and 90 points in winning the opener 83-62 and Game 2 97-68 by a finals-record margin in Phoenix.
The game was played at the UIC Pavilion because Allstate Arena was unavailable due to a Garth Brooks tour.