Taurasi, Mercury pound Shock, even seriesSep 9, 2007 - 12:33 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury answered back in a big way.
Taurasi scored 30 points and Tangela Smith added 18 and 10 rebounds as the Mercury evened the WNBA Finals at a game apiece with a 98-70 rout of the Detroit Shock in Game Two of their best-of-five series.
Game Three is Tuesday in Phoenix.
"Hopefully, we can continue to play like this at home," Mercury coach Paul Westhead said. "On paper, this gives us home-court advantage, but now we have to take advantage."
Cappie Pondexter scored 18 points for the Mercury, who outscored the Shock, 31-19, in the third quarter to secure the victory. Phoenix led by as many as 34 points in the final period.
Phoenix suffered a 108-100 loss to Detroit in Game One with Taurasi scoring just 10 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. With the loss, the Mercury had dropped all three matchups with the defending-champion Shock this season.
But it looks to be a tougher road to a second WNBA championship for Detroit, which aims to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001-02.
Shock coach Bill Laimbeer admitted that his team will not hoist the trophy if it plays like it did on Saturday.
"We have our moments like this," Laimbeer said. "We been there and done this before in the Finals, but it still drives us crazy. We didn't show up. We had, not different agendas, but different attitudes today.
"The coaches coached a bad game, and the players put their heads down and stopped playing. You can't have that."
Taurasi came out determined in this one, shooting 11-of-20 from the field, including 7-of-14 from the arc.
"I wasn't focused on myself (in Game One)," Taurasi said. "I struggled in Game One, but this game has never been about one player. Our team played pretty well - just not well enough to win."
"Diana stepped up today and decided to bring her game with her," Westhead said. "She's going to do that 98 percent of the time, and that's going to be more than enough for any opponent."
Smith and Pondexter combined to shoot 14-of-27 from the floor, including 5-of-10 on 3-pointers.
The Mercury overwhelmed the Shock despite the return of All-Star Cheryl Ford, who was placed on the inactive list for Game One with a left knee injury. Ford, who is one of the premier interior players in the WNBA, scored just five points on 2-of-6 shooting in 16 minutes.
"We took (Ford) out of the game when it got out of hand," Laimbeer said. "There's no sense risking her getting hurt."
Deanna Nolan scored just 12 points and Swin Cash added 10 for Detroit, which suffered its first home loss in the playoffs this season.
"We just didn't show up," Nolan said. "We came into the game, and we thought we were ready, but we let them get into a rhythm. They started hitting 3-pointers and they just killed us."
The Shock shot a deplorable 32.5 percent (26-of-80) from the field, including just 3-of-20 from 3-point range.
DETROIT 62 FINAL
Sep 8 5:35 PM
DETROIT 51 END, 3RD QTR
Sep 8 5:07 PM
DETROIT 32 HALFTIME
Sep 8 4:28 PM
DETROIT 17 END, 1ST QTR
Sep 8 4:02 PM
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