Brittney Griner's performance had been up-and-down in her WNBA playoff debut. But with veteran Diana Taurasi urging her on, the rookie calmly sank the winning basket on Monday night.
Griner's turnaround jumper with 4.9 seconds left gave the Phoenix Mercury a 78-77 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks in the deciding Game 3 of their first-round series.
''It doesn't matter what you do until the end,'' said Griner, who finished with six points, four rebounds and four fouls. ''I wasn't nervous about it. I didn't think twice.''
Candice Dupree scored all but two of her 22 points in the first half, Dewanna Bonner added 19, and Taurasi had 18 points and 10 assists while improving to 6-0 in career elimination games with the Mercury.
Phoenix advanced to the Western Conference finals against top-seeded Minnesota. Game 1 is Thursday.
Kristi Toliver led the Sparks with 22 points. WNBA MVP Candace Parker added 18 points, and Nneka Ogwumike had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The Sparks were elimi...