Pondexter, Mercury edge Storm to advance to West finalAug 27, 2007 - 2:53 AM By Al Bravo Special to PA SportsTicker
PHOENIX (Ticker) -- The Phoenix Mercury blew a 22-point lead but held on for a 95-89 win over the Seattle Storm in Game Two on Sunday to advance to the Western Conference finals.
Cappie Pondexter scored 25 points for the Mercury, who outscored the Storm, 10-6, over the final 2:30 to earn their first playoff home win since 1998.
No. 1 Phoenix will play the winner of Monday's matchup between Sacramento and San Antonio for the right to represent the West in the WNBA Finals.
"We're always an interesting team," Mercury coach Paul Westhead said. "We never let you get in the parking lot and let you get home early. On the one hand, I have to give credit to Seattle - they never gave up and they kept at us, cutting up our zone a little bit."
"We were just in the locker room saying that the first game is important," Mercury All-Star Diana Taurasi said. "If you can get that first game on the road then you have a pretty good chance of coming home and closing it out."
Taurasi had 20 points and six assists and Penny Taylor added 18 points and five rebounds for the Mercury, who had not been in the playoffs since 2000.
Taurasi drained a 3-pointer to break an 85-85 tie and give the Mercury the lead for good with 2:29 remaining in the fourth quarter.
"It was the end of the play," Westhead said. "We tried to go inside to Penny Taylor and it didn't work out so it got kicked back to her, and this is part two."
It was an impressive rally by Seattle, which trailed, 60-38, with 8:21 left in the third, due mostly in part to MVP candidate Lauren Jackson battling foul trouble.
"We had been scratching and clawing throughout the fourth quarter, coming back from 22 down," Seattle coach Anne Donovan said. "I thought we did a great job. At one point, we were just shut off emotions that were carrying us. We were bothered by the officials, we were bothered that we weren't getting stops."
Jackson recorded 22 points and 14 rebounds and Sue Bird scored 21 points for the Storm, who had defeated Phoenix twice during the regular season.
"Obviously they are a very offensive-minded team, that's not a secret," Bird said. "And they are very hard to stop, but we were giving them way too many easy things."
It might have been the last game for the Seattle franchise, which may relocate to Oklahoma City along with the NBA's SuperSonics if an agreement to build a new arena isn't made by October 31.
PHOENIX 95 FINAL
Aug 26 9:07 PM
PHOENIX 76 END, 3RD QTR
Aug 26 8:37 PM
PHOENIX 51 HALFTIME
Aug 26 7:54 PM
PHOENIX 27 END, 1ST QTR
Aug 26 7:28 PM
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