The Phoenix Mercury are on to the second round of the 2020 WNBA playoffs. Late on Tuesday night, they eliminated the Washington Mystics in stunning fashion in their single-elimination first round matchup, coming back from a 13-point deficit before Shey Peddy hit a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer for an 85-84 win.
Down by 11 entering the fourth, Phoenix had actually come all the way back to take a four-point lead late in the frame. But then they turned it over on three straight possessions, and the Mystics took advantage to regain the lead at 84-82 with six seconds to play. That was enough time for the Mercury, though, and Peddy came up with one of the biggest shots in franchise history.
Diana Taurasi inbounded the ball to Skylar Diggins-Smith, who drove left and found Peddy wide open in the corner with a cross-court pass. Peddy showed incredible poise to let Leilani Mitchell fly by, then reset and drilled the 3 for the win.
While there are certainly issues with the WNBA's insistence on playing multiple single-elimination playoff rounds, it does create moments like this, which is a big upside. Instead of just a thrilling Game 1 win, this becomes a rare series-ending buzzer-beater. With the win, the Mercury will go on to face their old rivals, the Minnesota Lynx, in the second round.
Peddy finished the game with a career-high 12 points, four rebounds and three steals. And along with being the biggest shot of her career by far, the moment was extra special for Peddy, as she spent last season, and the first part of this summer, with the Mystics. Back in August, Washington waived Peddy, but she was able to quickly latch on with the Mercury. Her performance on Tuesday night showed exactly why they were eager to have her.
Peddy was the hero, but the Mercury wouldn't have been in position for her to make that shot without the play of their star backcourt, Taurasi and Diggins-Smith. That duo combined for 47 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, and were electric in the second half to lead the Mercury's comeback. With the win, Taurasi improves her record in win-or-go-home games to an unbelievable 14-1.