Shey Peddy drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired to give the Phoenix Mercury an 85-84 victory over the Washington Mystics to advance in the playoffs with the single-elimination, first-round victory on Tuesday night at Bradenton, Fla.
The Mystics were expecting either Diana Taurasi or Skylar Diggins-Smith to take the final shot, but a driving Diggins-Smith saw Peddy wide open near the right corner. The former Mystics player got the shot off before the clock ran out and watched the ball go through the net with her team's season on the line.
"It is unreal," Peddy said during a postgame television interview on ESPN2. "I got it up. I honestly just prayed it would go in."
The fifth-seeded Mercury will face the fourth-seeded Minnesota Lynx in the second round on Thursday. That round also consists of a single game.
Diggins-Smith scored 24 points and Taurasi had 23 for Phoenix, which never led in the game's first 35 minutes. Kia Vaughn and Peddy each had 12 points for the Mercury, who shot 45.2 percent from the field, including 11 of 24 from 3-point range.
Leilani Mitchell scored 25 points and Emma Meesseman had 18 for the Mystics. Ariel Atkins recorded 13 points and Myisha Hines-Allen added 11 for Washington, which shot 43.2 percent from the field and was 9 of 18 from 3-point range.
Taurasi hit a tiebreaking shot with 2:33 left to give Phoenix an 80-78 lead. Hines-Allen hit a 3-pointer 27 seconds later, but at the next break in play, the shot was reviewed and the points were taken off the board when the referees ruled the shot clock expired before she got off the attempt.
Brianna Turner's basket gave the Mercury an 82-78 lead with 1:35 to play, but Phoenix then committed turnovers on three consecutive possessions.
Meanwhile, Mitchell hit a 3-pointer with 57.1 seconds left and Meesseman scored on a layup to give the Mystics an 83-82 lead with 38.8 seconds left.
Mitchell split two free throws with 5.8 seconds left before Phoenix's game-winning shot.
Phoenix trailed by 12 early in the fourth quarter before making a frantic push with 17 consecutive points.
Diggins-Smith scored seven points and Vaughn notched the next four as the Mercury moved within 73-72. Diggins-Smith knocked down a 3-pointer to give Phoenix its first lead of the game at 75-73 with 4:56 left, and Taurasi connected on another trey 33 seconds left to cap the spurt.
Mitchell drained a 3-pointer with 3:20 left for Washington's first points in 5:45. A basket by Hines-Allen tied the score at 78 with 2:44 remaining.
Mitchell scored 11 first-half points, and the Mystics held a 46-35 lead at the break.
--Field Level Media