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Survive and Advance: Mercury Moves on to Round 2 with Win over Washington, Will Face Minnesota

September 16, 2020 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) - Phoenix Mercury News Release

PHOENIX - The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury earned a spot in another win-or-go-home single-elimination showdown, this time a Round 2 tilt against the Minnesota Lynx this Thursday, September 17 at 4 p.m. Phoenix time (7 p.m. ET) on ESPN2. Phoenix earned the second-round berth by virtue of a 85-84 win over the Washington Mystics in Round 1 of the 2020 WNBA Playoffs tonight in Bradenton, Fla.

Phoenix improved to 7-1 in single-elimination playoff games since the league changed its postseason format in 2016, including a perfect 7-0 with Diana Taurasi available. Taurasi is now 14-1 in her WNBA career in winner-take-all games (single elimination, Game 3's of a best-of-three series, Game 5's of a best-of-five series) and 51-7 with elimination on the line throughout her entire basketball career (WNBA Playoffs, Olympics and NCAA Tournament). In Round 2 of the 2020 WNBA Playoffs, the fifth-seeded Mercury and fourth-seeded Lynx meet, while the seventh-seeded Connecticut Sun will take on the third-seeded Los Angeles Sparks. The winners of these games will advance to play in the best-of-five semifinals against either top-seeded Las Vegas or second-seeded Seattle.

Phoenix and Minnesota split the regular season series, 1-1, this season, with the Lynx coming away with a 90-80 win on August 21 and the Mercury earning the 83-79 win on August 30. With a win on Thursday, the Mercury would make its seventh appearance in the WNBA Semifinals (the league's "Final Four") in the last eight seasons.

Despite 54 games missed due to injury or absence this season, and missing two of its top four scorers, the Mercury closed the season winning seven of its final nine games. Led by the All-Star duo of Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith, the Mercury continue its title quest in the WNBA Bubble in Bradenton, Fla. on September 17 against the Minnesota Lynx in Round 2 of the WNBA Playoffs. While the surroundings may be unfamiliar and the stands may be empty, this moment and this season is #4TheValley. For more information, visit PhoenixMercury.com.

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