Fever 116, Mercury 120Sep 30, 2009 - 5:09 AM By BOB BAUM AP Sports Writer
PHOENIX (AP) -- The WNBA finals was supposed to be Phoenix's offense against Indiana's defense.
How about offense vs. offense? Enough for the highest-scoring game in WNBA history.
Cappie Pondexter missed a potential winning tip-in at the fourth-quarter buzzer then scored seven of her 23 points in overtime Tuesday night to help the Mercury beat the Fever 120-116 in the highest-scoring game in WNBA history.
"Well, if you didn't like women's basketball," Phoenix coach Corey Gaines said, "I think you do now."
Pondexter, frustrated and in foul trouble in the first half, scored the final five points to close out Game 1 of the best-of-five series.
"You got to let the game come to you," the Mercury point guard said.
Penny Taylor scored 23 points and newly crowned league MVP Diana Taurasi had 22 for Phoenix.
Katie Douglas tied it with a 3-pointer for Indiana with 7.1 seconds left in regulation, then scored eight in overtime for the Fever to reach a career playoff high 30 points. Ebony Hoffman had a career-high 27 on 12 of 14 shooting as the Fever set a franchise scoring record in just the second 100-point game in the club's history.
Before this one, the league's highest-scoring game was Phoenix's 111-110 victory over Houston in triple overtime on Aug. 10, 2006.
The Mercury and Fever each scored more points than any team previously in league history. The old mark was 115, of course by Phoenix, in an overtime victory over Sacramento on June 13.
The Mercury scored exactly three points a minute Tuesday night.
"It was fun," Taurasi said, "kind of showing a different side of women's basketball - how high a level it is. It's fun to be in the game and I'm sure it was fun to watch."
Paul Westhead, who installed the offense for the Mercury and won a WNBA title with it as Phoenix coach two years ago, must have loved it. Phoenix improved to 22-2 in games in which it scored 100 points. The Mercury are 10-0 in 100-point games this season.
The Fever, though, are supposed to be built on defense. Did Indiana coach Lin Dunn think her team had that much offense in it?
"Sure I did," she said. "When the ball goes in we're really good."
Indiana's Tamika Catchings had just eight points before fouling out with 2:42 left in overtime but harassed Taurasi into a 5 of 17 shooting night.
Rookie DeWanna Bonner's two free throws put Phoenix ahead 105-102 with 14.2 seconds left in regulation, then after a timeout, the Fever got the ball to the open Douglas, who sank the 3 that tied it.
The Mercury pushed downcourt, where Bonner missed a driving layup, but Pondexter went up for the uncontested tip-in. Her shot bounced off the rim to send the game into overtime.
After trailing most of the second half by as many as eight points, the Mercury used a 9-0 spurt to take the lead late in the fourth quarter.
Taurasi sank a 3 pointer, made one of two free throws, then had an assist on Temeka Johnson's 3 that put the Mercury ahead 102-98 with 2 1/2 minutes to play in regulation. The other basket in the run was a driving bank shot by Taylor that tied it at 98.
The unintimidated Fever, who had won three straight in Phoenix, came back. Catchings made two free throws, then rookie Briann January, who played at nearby Arizona State, made a layup to tie it at 102 with 47.8 seconds left.
Taylor was fouled and made one of two free throws with 27.9 seconds remaining to give Phoenix a 103-102 lead.
The lead changed hands six times in overtime. Douglas' 15-footer gave Indiana its final lead at 116-115 with 1:40 left. Pondexter scored on a drive to put the Mercury ahead 117-116 with 1:27 to go, then sank a 16-footer with 20.2 seconds to go to make it 119-116. She finally finished off the Fever by making one of two free throws with 3 seconds to play.
Dunn lamented Phoenix's offensive rebounds, especially late in the game.
"I'm telling you," she said. "At the end of the day we can't give up 24 second-chance points."
Pondexter expects more of the same the rest of the series.
"I think every game you see from here on out will be like Game 1 was," she said. "Incredible."
PHOENIX 120 FINAL IN 1ST OT
Sep 29 11:27 PM
PHOENIX 31 END, 1ST QTR
Sep 29 9:24 PM
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