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Mystics-Mercury Preview

Aug 20, 2009 - 5:27 PM By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN STATS Senior Writer

Washington (12-13) at Phoenix (18-8), 10:00 p.m. EDT

The Phoenix Mercury have made no secret that their gameplan is to get the ball to Diana Taurasi.

The league's leading scorer will try to help the Mercury post a fourth straight win over the Washington Mystics on Friday night at the US Airways Center.

Phoenix (18-8) is averaging a league-high 92.6 points with Taurasi's 21.0 per game leading the WNBA. The Mercury have scored at least 100 points seven times this year.

"That's the way we play," Taurasi said. "We try to put up a lot of points. We put that style of play on to the other team."

Led by Taurasi, the Mercury scored 55 points over the final 14 minutes Tuesday in a 106-99 victory at Chicago. Taurasi capped a 27-point effort with two key 3-pointers in the final two minutes as Phoenix rallied from a 12-point deficit in the third quarter.

"I just called her number," Phoenix coach Corey Gaines said. "She came out and shot it. We do it all the time."

Cappie Pondexter scored 23 on Tuesday, and is shooting 51.1 percent and averaging 17.8 points over her last six games. Rookie DeWanna Bonner added 14 points and 10 rebounds for her fifth double-double.

"We did a good job of moving the ball around and getting a lot of good looks for people," Taurasi said.

Taurasi is averaging 27.7 points during Phoenix's three-game win streak over Washington (12-13). Pondexter scored 24 and Taurasi added 23 in a 93-87 road win over the Mystics on June 25.

The Mercury are 7-2 against Eastern Conference foes this year, joining Minnesota as the only West teams with winning records against the East.

Phoenix appears to be in good shape to earn the West's top seed. The Mercury lead second-place Seattle by 3 1/2 games.

Washington can move into a tie with Chicago for fourth place in the East with a victory Friday. The Mystics opened a four-game Western Conference road trip with a 72-69 loss at Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Matee Ajavon had a season-high 20 points off the bench for Washington, which has lost four of five. Leading scorer Alana Beard had 10 points - her lowest total in nine games - and matched a season high with six turnovers.

Washington will play six of its final nine on the road, with its next three coming over a five-day span.

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