Pondexter shines as Mercury advances to WNBA FinalsSep 2, 2007 - 2:57 AM By Al Bravo PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
PHOENIX (Ticker) -- The Phoenix Mercury are officially the best in the West.
Cappie Pondexter collected 33 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists as the Mercury swept the San Antonio Silver Stars, 98-92, to advance to the WNBA Finals on Saturday.
Penny Taylor scored 23 points and Diana Taurasi added 18 for Phoenix, which will meet the winner of the Eastern Conference final between the Detroit Shock and Indiana Fever.
"It was incredible," Pondexter said. "I think that shows how our season went. I'm just happy now that we are in a position where we can relax and wait for our opponent."
"If you want to relate it back to college, the game that gets you to the Final Four is the hardest and the game that gets you to the Finals should be the hardest," Taurasi said, who won three National titles at Connecticut. "I think once you get to the Finals the work you have done all year comes out then so the best team, I think for the most part in a five-game series, will win."
Pondexter made 12-of-19 shots, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range.
"Cappie was superwoman, I don't know what she ate for breakfast, or lunch or whatever," Taurasi said. "Cappie was amazing - the best game I have seen a woman player have in a long time."
The Mercury have won all four of their postseason games as they return to the WNBA Finals for the first time in nine years.
In the fourth quarter, Pondexter converted a three-point play to snap an 84-84 tie and Kelly Miller added two free throws at the 1:47 mark.
San Antonio got two free throws from Sophia Young but, on the ensuing possession, Taylor completed a four-point play after being fouled by Marie Ferdinand-Harris at the top of the key with 1:05 remaining for a 92-86 bulge.
Phoenix outscored San Antonio, 17-10, over the final 2:57.
"I'm disappointed we didn't close the deal and force a third game," San Antonio coach Dan Hughes said. "Because I think a third game was really deserved in this series."
Shanna Crossley netted 20 points off the bench and Young had 19 and 10 boards for the Silver Stars, who made 12-of-28 from 3-point range.
"Crossley almost shot us out of town," Phoenix coach Paul Westhead said. "It's really interesting because you think you have every contingency covered."
San Antonio All-Star Becky Hammon struggled after scoring 32 points in Thursday's Game One loss at the AT&T Center. She scored 14 points on 5-of-18 shooting two days later.
"If you had told me we would be tied with two minutes to go, that would be a scenario we could live with," Hughes said. "I give a lot of credit to Phoenix. They made some very timely plays."
Crossley connected on four of her first five 3-pointers in the opening half to help San Antonio create a 47-42 advantage at intermission.
Phoenix now gets three days of rest until the first game of the Finals on Wednesday. "A day off is always nice," Taurasi said. "Especially with the way we play because it takes a toll on you. So these next couple of days will be good to refresh mentally and physically."
SAN ANTONIO 92
PHOENIX 98 FINAL
Sep 1 8:57 PM
SAN ANTONIO 67
PHOENIX 67 END, 3RD QTR
Sep 1 8:27 PM
SAN ANTONIO 47
PHOENIX 42 HALFTIME
Sep 1 7:52 PM
SAN ANTONIO 28
PHOENIX 23 END, 1ST QTR
Sep 1 7:26 PM
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