Kia Nurse is not used to hitting game-winners or half-court shots. But she did both in the same shot on Tuesday night to give the Phoenix Mercury (4-3) an 84-83 victory over the Chicago Sky (2-5) at Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
“My history with those shots, there is no history,” Nurse said. “That is the first thing we have, the first one that actually went in.”
Nurse clarified that she had never made a game-winner right at the buzzer and never makes half-court shots in warm-ups.
Nurse, who finished with 18 points and eight rebounds, rebounded a Kahleah Copper miss with 0.7 seconds left, didn’t call a timeout like she should have, dribbled up a little past half-court and let a shot go on the run. The Mercury were down four with 37.7 seconds remaining before Megan Walker free throws at the 29.9-second mark.
The Mercury were also down 10 with 3:37 to play. Phoenix point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith (24 points, five assists) made a key 3-pointer at 57.4 seconds remaining to cut it to three.
The Mercury were up by 11 at halftime before Chicago won the third 25-14.
“Finally one of those games went our way,” Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said. “Just proud that we found our composure back. … I was just really loving how they just stayed together and they competed and we got stops and we made some shots.”
“I think everybody contributed in a number of different ways,” Nurse said of the comeback. “There was a possession where they tried to isolate Diamond DeShields on Megan and she held her own and that was fantastic. Breezy (Brianna Turner) on the glass, BG (Brittney Griner) with her ability to alter shots from anywhere on the court on switches. That was all really important to get us back into the game.”
Griner contributed 13 points and seven boards to the winning cause while Turner added 12 and eight to go along with three blocks. Walker notched 11 points.
DeShields led the Sky with a game-high 26 points and grabbed four steals. Courtney Vandersloot recorded 17 points and dished out a game-high 10 assists while Ruthy Hebard was good for 14 points and nine rebounds in defeat.