Phoenix Holds off Indiana

PHOENIX, July 29, 2007 (AP) -- Tangela Smith had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Phoenix Mercury to an 80-75 victory over the Indiana Fever on Sunday.

Phoenix (16-10) outscored Indiana 14-9 in the final 2 minutes to win its fourth in a row and hand the Fever (16-10) their six straight loss.

Diana Taurasi hit a 3-pointer to give the Mercury the lead for good and had five of her 16 points in the final run. Cappie Pondexter had 21 points, including four free throws in the final minute.

"Today, really, was a great team effort,'' Taurasi said. "And that's what we've been having the last five, six games ... everyone in double figures, doing a lot of little things to get victories. That's what we're going to have to do.''

Tan White had 25 points, including five 3s, for the Fever, who fell four games behind first-place Detroit in the Eastern Conference. Tammy Sutton-Brown added 14 points and nine rebounds for Indiana, who was without leading scorer and rebounder Tamika Catchings, who missed her fifth game with a partially torn plantar fascia in her left foot.

"She's our leading scorer, our leading rebounder, our best defender and leads us in assists,'' Indiana coach Brian Winters said of Catchings. "There's a lot categories to fill up there. We're still working our way through it.''

Phoenix made their last 10 free throws in the final 1:06 to secure the victory.

Taurasi hit a 16-footer with 1:21 left to give the Mercury a 71-67 lead and Tully Bevilaqua missed a 3 and Indiana never got closer.

"We just got to keep sticking together,'' Sutton-Brown said. "We're at the point where we are still second place in the East and knowing that will help taking that to the next game.''

Phoenix went on a 12-3 run in the third quarter to take a 50-42 lead with 3:27 left and after Pondexter's jumper from the top of key with 8:45 remaining gave Phoenix a 58-48 advantage.

However, Indiana scored 14 straight points to regain the advantage before Smith's 3 with 3:07 left tied the score at 64.

"It's always easy to win when you're making shots, when the other team isn't playing well, and things are all going your way,'' Taurasi said. "But when things are kind of rocky the whole game, we're up 10, you look up and all of a sudden you're down four, things like that are really a gut-check.''

The WNBA's two best shooting teams combined to make just 35.2 percent of their shots. The teams combined to shoot 31 percent from the field in the first half as the Fever took a 34-32 lead.