|7:00 PM PT8:00 PM MT9:00 PM CT10:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)04:0022:00 ET9:00 PM CTNaN:� , September 6, 2017
Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Arizona Attendance: 5,764
Griner leads Mercury past Storm in WNBA playoffs
(TSX / STATS) -- In a battle of the WNBA's top two scorers, Breanna Stewart and Brittney Griner ended up tied, but Griner's Phoenix Mercury are moving on.
Griner, the league's regular-season scoring leader (21.9 points per game), tallied 23 points and 11 rebounds in 40 minutes as the Mercury beat the Seattle Storm 79-69 in the opening round of the WNBA playoffs on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Phoenix.
Phoenix (19-16) advances to take on fourth-seeded Connecticut in Sunday's second round. The winner will face Minnesota or Los Angeles in the best-of-five semifinals.
Stewart, who averaged 19.9 points per game this year, scored 23 on 6-of-17 shooting Wednesday.
After trailing by as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter, Seattle got within four at 67-63 with just over a minute to go.
But Diana Taurasi and Leilani Mitchell answered with 3-pointers to help Phoenix hold on.
The Mercury used a 10-0 run to take a 53-41 lead with 3:02 to go in the third quarter.
The Storm got within seven before Mitchell hit a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to make it 56-46.
Jewell Loyd, the Storm's second-leading scorer, scored 17 points but missed her first eight shots. She didn't make a field goal until 42 seconds remained in the third quarter.
Neither team shot well from the floor, but they were a combined 47 of 51 from the free-throw line.
Seattle's six-point lead early in the second quarter was the biggest for either team in the first half.
The Mercury led 32-31 at halftime despite the Storm making just 8 of 30 shots in the first 20 minutes. Phoenix wasn't much better, making 12 of 31.
Seattle's foul shooting kept it in the game early.
Stewart was 7-for-8 from the line, and the Storm made 13 of 14 in the first half. But Stewart was 2 of 7 and Loyd 0-for-7 from the field.
Griner led the Mercury with 11 points in the opening half.
Updated September 7, 2017