Taylor scores 31 to lead Mercury past LibertyAug 10, 2007 - 4:54 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Another high-scoring night left the Phoenix Mercury a step closer to the top seed in the Western Conference.
Penny Taylor, who is averaging 21.4 points over the last 19 games, led the barrage on Thursday night with 31 as the Mercury beat the New York Liberty, 97-86.
The win put the Mercury (20-11) a game ahead of second-place San Antonio (18-11) with three games left. Phoenix has not finished first in the conference since the league's inaugural season in 1997.
Janel McCarville had 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Liberty (12-17), who have won just two of their last 11 games but still are in the hunt for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with five games to play.
Cappie Pondexter added 27 points and seven rebounds for Phoenix, which is 10-2 since the All-Star break. With their 20th win, the Mercury tied the single-season franchise mark.
The Mercury led by as many as 13 in the final quarter, but Shameka Christon - who had 25 points - hit a pair of 3-pointers to help New York get within 85-81 with 3:03 left.
However, Taylor hit a free throw with 2:34 remaining, and Kelly Miller grabbed the rebound on the subsequent miss and scored quickly to put Phoenix ahead by seven.
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