Phoenix beats San Antonio 106-78, evens series

PHOENIX(AP) Diana Taurasi scored 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting and had six rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots to lead the Phoenix Mercury past the San Antonio Silver Stars 106-78 Saturday to even their Western Conference semifinal series at a game apiece.

The deciding game of the best-of-three series will be Monday at U.S. Airways Center.

Taurasi, the league's leading scorer at 20.4 points a game, scored 20 in the first half as the Mercury (24-12) took control early, leading 64-42 at the break. San Antonio (16-20) never got closer than 17 in the second half.

Sophia Young had 19 points to lead San Antonio, which lost in the WNBA finals a year ago.

Cappie Pondexter added 18 points and DeWanna Bonner, selected as the league's Sixth Woman of the year Friday, had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Mercury.

Phoenix hit nine of their first 10 shots, made its first four 3-pointers and took a 35-23 lead after the first quarter. Taurasi hit 5-of-7 from the field, including three three-pointers for 13 points. The 35 points broke the WNBA record for points in the first quarter of a playoff game (30).

Then Phoenix ran off 13 straight points early in the second quarter to open up a 48-25 advantage with 5:56 left in the half.

The Mercury shot 27-of-36 (75 percent) in the first half, led by Taurasis 20, to take a 64-42 advantage at the break, the third-most points in a half in WNBA postseason history. Phoenix made 46-of-72 (64 percent) from the field on the night and outrebounded San Antonio 39-20.

Penny Taylor added 14 points for Phoenix. Becky Hammon, the second-leading scorer in the WNBA this season at 19.5 a game, was held to 13 in 29 minutes. Vickie Johnson added 13 points and four assists while Ann Wauters had 12 for San Antonio.

The Silver Stars beat Phoenix 92-91 in Thursdays playoff opener. The teams had split four games during the regular season.

Phoenix had the best record in the league while San Antonio, at 15-19, became the first team with a losing record to reach the Western Conference playoffs.

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