The opening night of the 2021 WNBA season got off to a thrilling start on Friday, as Sabrina Ionescu drained a game-winning 3-pointer to lift the New York Liberty over the Indiana Fever. A few hours later, Diana Taurasi followed that up with some heroics of her own, only her game-winning triple to give the Phoenix Mercury a 77-75 win over the Minnesota Lynx was a little unusual.
With just over 30 seconds to play, the Mercury trailed by one and needed a stop. They got it, forcing a turnover near the end of the shot clock. Brittney Griner secured the loose ball and fired it ahead to Taurasi, who did what she does best: make clutch shots. Instead of trying to get to the basket, Taurasi stopped, went behind her back and launched a deep 3 that caught nothing but net.
The only problem was that the clock stopped just about when Griner picked up the ball, and was frozen at 6.8 seconds, so no one knew exactly how much time was supposed to be left. Did she get it off in time? Was it a buzzer beater? Would the Lynx get another possession?
Yes. No. Yes.
Following a 15 minute delay, in which the referees were watching replays with stop watches to try and figure out the clock situation, they determined that Taurasi's shot went in with 1.1 seconds remaining. That meant the Lynx got the ball back with a chance to tie or win it themselves, but unfortunately for them they never even got a shot off.
After nearly blowing an 11-point lead, the Mercury escaped with the win to move to 1-0 on the season. Taurasi actually struggled for most of the night, and finished with 14 points on 3-of-13 from the field. She did add eight rebounds and five assists, however, and made the shot when it mattered.