Kahleah Copper Thanks Diana Taurasi for Classy Move Before Mercury's Game-Winner

Mercury guard Diana Taurasi laughs with guard Kahleah Copper during a game against the Sparks.
Mercury guard Diana Taurasi laughs with guard Kahleah Copper during a game against the Sparks. / Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY
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Guard Kahleah Copper was the hero Friday night in the Phoenix Mercury's 81–80 victory over the Minnesota Lynx at Footprint Center.

The Mercury trailed 80–78 with 5.1 seconds left when Phoenix coach Nate Tibbets drew up a play for the potential game-winner. Guard Sophie Cunningham inbounded the ball to center Brittney Griner, who handed it off to Copper for an open look from three. Copper swished it. Ball game.

After the game, Copper revealed the original play Tibbetts drew up was designed for Taurasi to take the last shot. But the 41-year-old veteran told the coach that Copper should take it instead.

"It means a lot," Copper said of Taurasi's unselfish gesture. "What she is for this for this franchise, what she is for women's basketball, what she's done in her career. Clearly, she's a winner. She could have easily been like, 'O.K., cool, let's run it for me.' But it speaks to her character being unselfish and, like I said, being a winner."

Copper scored a game-high 34 points on 13-of-23 shooting against the Lynx. It was Copper's fourth 30-piece in 11 games this season and just four points shy of her career high of 38 points—achieved against the Atlanta Dream on May 18.

The Mercury (5–6) sit in fourth place in the Western Conference after 11 games. Winners of two of their last three games, the Mercury will visit the Dallas Wings on Sunday.


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Tom Dierberger

TOM DIERBERGER

Tom Dierberger is a writer and editor for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Tom joined SI in 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports, and NBC Sports. In his spare time, Tom can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.