Storm season ends in Phoenix after rally falls short
The Associated Press
PHOENIX — Cappie Pondexter scored 25 points as the Phoenix Mercury blew a 22-point, second-half lead but recovered for a 95-89 win tonight and a sweep of the Seattle Storm in the best-of-three WNBA Western Conference semifinals.
Diana Taurasi, who had 20 points and six assists, hit a 3-pointer and made a free throw in the final 2:30 after Seattle had tied it at 85 with 2:50 left. The Storm trailed 60-38 with 8:21 left in the third.
Lauren Jackson scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, but played the last 14 minutes with five fouls for Seattle.
Phoenix will play the winner of Monday's Sacramento-San Antonio game on the road Thursday night in the first game of the best-of-three Western Conference finals.
Penny Taylor added 18 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Mercury, who had not been in the playoffs since 2000.
Sue Bird scored 21 points and had six assists for the fourth-seeded Storm.
Kelly Miller added 16 points for Phoenix, which had never swept a playoff series in franchise history.
The No. 1 seed from the West beat Seattle 101-84 in the opener Friday.
Seattle had beaten Phoenix in two of the three meetings during the regular season.
Seattle improved its shooting in the second quarter, making 9 of 15 shots, but committed six turnovers and couldn't gain any ground on the Mercury's 13-point lead. Phoenix led 51-38 at the break.
The Mercury had a 15-4 run in the first quarter and led by as much as 27-11 later in the period as Phoenix overcame two quick fouls on Taurasi against Jackson.
The leading MVP candidate had seven points and five rebounds in the first quarter, but she also got two fouls early.
It might have been the last game for the Seattle Storm in its present form. The Storm may be relocated along with the NBA's SuperSonics if an agreement to build a new arena isn't reached by Oct. 31. The team could then be moved to Oklahoma City.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company