Pondexter, Taurasi lead Mercury past MysticsJun 26, 2009 - 2:28 AM WASHINGTON(AP) -- Cappie Pondexter scored 24 points and Diana Taurasi had 23 to help the Phoenix Mercury pick up their first road victory of the season with a 93-87 win over the Washington Mystics on Thursday night.
Temeka Johnson added 11 points and Kelly Mazzante scored 10 for the Mercury (6-3), who had key runs to close out the first and third quarters and then held off the Mystics' late rally.
Alana Beard led five double-figure scorers with 21 points and had four steals, as the Mystics (4-2) cut a nine-point fourth quarter deficit to 89-87 on Crystal Langhorne's hook shot with 1:56 remaining.
However they missed on their next four potential game-tying shots and the Mercury finally snapped a late scoring drought when Tangela Smith found Le'coe Willingham inside for a layup with 6.9 seconds remaining. Pondexter stole the subsequent inbound pass and Taurasi added a layup to end the game.
"Its always tough to win in Washington, so I think today we did a good job of staying in the game," said Taurasi, who was 4-for-4 from the field in the fourth quarter, including two 3-pointers. "At the end we made some plays to win and that's what it takes with two good teams."
Langhorne had 16 points and 12 rebounds off the bench while Nakia Sanford scored 13 points for the Mystics, who had a 44-36 edge in scoring in the paint but missed 12 of 29 free throws.
"We had chances to win down the stretch and that's all you can ask for," Mystics coach Julie Plank said.
Beard's jump shot late in the third quarter gave the Mystics a 66-65 lead after they trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half.
That advantage lasted exactly one possession as Pondexter immediately scored on a three-point play and the Mercury closed the quarter with seven straight points and 10 overall.
"The transition baskets hurt us a lot," Plank said. "We would score and then would score quickly right back so we couldn't get some of those momentum swings going continuously.
Phoenix, who entered the game averaging a league-high 91.4 points, used a 20-4 run in the first quarter to pull ahead 26-13 as Washington did not score a field goal over the final 6:27 of the first quarter.
The Mercury led 51-42 at halftime.
Lindsey Harding added 12 points and nine assists and Monique Currie scored 10 points for the Mystics, who swept the Mercury last season.
WASHINGTON 87 FINAL
Jun 25 9:07 PM
WASHINGTON 13 END, 1ST QTR
Jun 25 7:32 PM
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