for this game

Johnson's buzzer shot leads Mercury past Monarchs

Jul 12, 2009 - 5:39 AM SACRAMENTO, Calif.(AP) -- Cappie Pondexter and Diana Tourasi are usually the Phoenix Mercury's go-to players on offense. Against the Sacramento Monarchs, Temeka Johnson had the ball with the game on the line.

After taking an inbounds pass from Pondexter, Johnson headed to the basket and hit a 14-foot runner to give the Mercury a 107-105 victory Saturday night. She scored 12 of her 17 points in the fourth quarter.

"It wasn't designed for me, but I was left open and I was able to knock it down," said Johnson, who hit five of eight shots in the fourth, including two 3-pointers. "(Ticha Penicheiro) ran out on me and I took the extra dribble and went to the basket. I knew there was still time to make a shot."

Nicole Powell scored 23 points for Sacramento (3-10), which led by 15 points in the first half.

Pondexter shot 4 of 14, but made all 13 free throws and finished with 23 points and eight assists. Tangela Smith scored a season-high 20 points for Phoenix before fouling out late in the game. Taurasi had 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, Lecoe Willingham scored 13 points and DeWanna Bonner added 12 points and eight rebounds.

Courtney Paris had a career-high 16 points for Sacramento, DeMya Walker had 15 points and eight rebounds, while both Scholanda Robinson and Rebekkah Brunson had 11 points.

It was a wild finish that saw rookies from each team make shots in the final 8.5 seconds that appeared to have the game headed for overtime.

After Bonner banked in a tough shot to put Phoenix ahead 105-103 with 8.5 seconds remaining, Paris tied it with 1.8 seconds left on a shot from close range.

In a game where both Pondexter and Taurasi were a combined 8 of 27 shooting, it was left to Johnson to make the big play.

"They have a very good offense. That's why you see them leading in so many offensive categories," Robinson said. "Taurasi and Pondexter are great scorers, but they are also good at finding the open players when you try to lock in on them."

It was Smith, who has struggled in the young season, getting Phoenix going in the third quarter when the Mercury rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to outscore the Monarchs 36-25 and pull to within one point entering the fourth. Smith made two 3-pointers and scored 15 points.

"Pick your poison on this team," Smith said. "Obviously Diana and Cappie are great players, but we have a lot of scorers and have great depth. Sometimes when I make one early like I did in the third quarter, I try to keep shooting. That's what happened tonight. They kept leaving me open, which was fine with me."

Brunson scored eight of her 11 points in the second quarter when the Monarchs scored 12 straight points late in the period and took a 54-42 lead into the half.

Pondexter had 11 first-half points, yet shot just 2 of 9. Taurasi had eight points, but didn't score in the second quarter after picking up her third foul.