PHOENIX (AP) — Brittney Griner shook off two blows to the face to finish with 19 points, Diana Taurasi added 18 and the Phoenix Mercury made it two straight routs in the WNBA Finals with a 97-68 win over the Chicago Sky on Tuesday night.
The underdog Sky were far more aggressive after being blown out in Game 1, fighting Phoenix for every inch early on while leaving Griner with a scratch on her eye and a bloody mouth.
Griner and her teammates shrugged it off, running away from Chicago with a 15-2 run in the second quarter and grabbing a firm hold on the best-of-five series.
Game 3 is Friday in Chicago, where the Sky will have to find some way of slowing the rising Mercury, who shot 56 percent.
Elena Delle Donne led the Sky with 22 points after playing 11 minutes in Game 1 due to lower-back pain.
DeWanna Bonner had 15 points for Phoenix, and Penny Taylor scored 14. Griner blocked four shots after setting a finals record with eight in the opener.
Game 1 was a blowout from the opening tip, the Mercury racing out to a 22-point halftime lead as Griner swatted Chicago’s shots and Phoenix shot a finals-record 58 percent.
The Sky were much more aggressive at the start of Game 2, pressuring the Mercury into mistakes and tough shots while taking their first lead of the series.
Even better news for Chicago, Delle Donne’s cranky back appeared to be in decent shape. Last season’s WNBA Rookie of the Year moved freely and had 12 points in the first half.
Griner got the worst of the Sky’s physical play midway through the first quarter, when Sylvia Fowles inadvertently hit her on the right eye while fighting for a rebound.
Griner lay on the floor for several seconds and appeared to have trouble seeing before going to the bench with a scratch across her eyelid.
She returned to the game, but got hit again late in the second quarter, this time an elbow to the mouth by Fowles.
Griner spit blood behind the basket, hit two free throws and dropped in another shot at the rim on Phoenix’s next possession.
While Griner was getting beat up, Taurasi put on a show.
She hit a long 3-pointer and scored on a three-point play during the 15-2 run, and then added another 3 from the corner for 13 points in the quarter. Taurasi had 16 in the half and Phoenix led 51-36 after Erin Phillips scored on a three-point play in transition with 0.5 seconds left.
So much for Chicago’s extra effort.
The Sky never recovered from Phoenix’s big run, trailing by 15 or more most of the second half to fall into a huge hole in the series.