The Minnesota Lynx and Phoenix Mercury entered the 2021 WNBA season as two of the top teams in the league, and their season-opening battle went just as expected: right down to the wire.
Minnesota led 75-74 and had the ball with under 10 seconds to play when Crystal Dangerfield, the 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year, lost the ball and Britney Griner found Diana Taurasi for an off-balance 3-pointer to put the Mercury up 77-75 with an unknown amount of time on the clock in the fourth quarter.
It was unknown because Griner grabbed the lose ball with approximately 8.2 seconds on the clock, but the clock then stopped with 6.8 seconds to go – stopping before Taurasi dribbled up the right side of the court and buried the spectacular three.
With the crowd at Target Center growing frustrated, the officials, after around 10 minutes of reviewing the replay, put 1.1 seconds left on the clock. Minnesota had a chance to tie or win the game, but Kayla McBride couldn't get a shot off before time expired.
McBride and Dangerfield each finished with 17 points while Aerial Powers, in her first game with the Lynx, finished with a team-high 18 points. Sylvia Fowles, the only remaining member of the 2017 WNBA title team, finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Minnesota played without star forward Napheesa Collier. The overseas competition has been extended later than usual due to the pandemic, and before players are allowed to return to the WNBA they have to quarantine upon returning to the U.S.
Note 2: Sloan Martin, a reporter for WCCO Radio, called the game on CBS Sports Network.