Taylor, Taurasi lead Mercury over Storm in Game OneAug 25, 2007 - 5:44 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Penny Taylor and Diana Taurasi scored 22 points apiece as the Phoenix Mercury cruised to a 101-84 victory over the Seattle Storm in Game One of their Western Conference semifinal series on Friday night.
Cappie Pondexter scored 21 points and Tangela Smith added 13 and 10 rebounds for the top-seeded Mercury, who had six players in double figures.
Game Two of the best-of-three matchup will be Sunday in Phoenix.
"We're a pretty focused team," Phoenix coach Paul Westhead said. "I think we'll go back and be prepared for Seattle's best on Sunday. We know they can beat us. If you add them all up this year, it's now 2-2 - they beat us twice and we beat them twice.
"We need one more win and we know that ... I'm saying the obvious, but it is the truth."
Guided by Westhead, who was known for his free-wheeling offense in six seasons with three NBA teams, Phoenix has implemented a relentless fast-paced style - which crushed Seattle on Friday.
Taurasi shot 8-of-18 from the field, including 4-of-12 from the arc, while Taylor was 8-of-16 from the floor and hit 1-of-4 from 3-point range. The high-powered Mercury shot 46 percent (30-of-73) from the field, including 14-of-34 on 3-pointers.
"We had a pretty good spread of scoring between Taurasi, Pondexter and Taylor," Westhead said. "I also thought that Tangela Smith stepped up like the veteran pro she is - 10 rebounds and she made some timely outside shots. Of course, Kelly Miller is always the motor of our team - she makes everything go.
But Phoenix was able to secure the win thanks to stellar defense on Seattle superstar Lauren Jackson, who was held to just 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Jackson, who averages 23.8 points, looked baffled by the myriad gimmick defenses thrown at her.
"We tried to rotate our defenses," Westhead said. "Some of our defenses are straight zone, some of them we have our rover player, Diana Taurasi, move up and down with Lauren Jackson. And sometimes, we just flat-out played her, trying to deny her the ball."
Betty Lennox scored 23 points for the Storm, who shot just 41 percent (30-of-73), including 13-of-30 from the arc.
"It's more than frustrating," Lennox said. "We were ready, or thought we were ready to come and play defensively, and obviously that wasn't the case. It was very disappointing playing in front of a great fan base, a great crowd. For the sixth man being behind us, it was very disappointing."
SEATTLE 84 FINAL
Aug 24 11:49 PM
SEATTLE 57 0:00 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Aug 24 11:27 PM
SEATTLE 33 HALFTIME
Aug 24 10:50 PM
SEATTLE 20 END, 1ST QTR
Aug 24 10:25 PM
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