Mercury 106, Silver Stars 78

Taurasi Scores 30 as Mercury Reach West Finals

Posted: Sept. 21, 2009

PHOENIX (AP) -- Diana Taurasi scored 30 points and keyed a tiebreaking run in the fourth quarter to help the Phoenix Mercury advance to the Western Conference finals with a 100-92 victory over the San Antonio Silver Stars in Game 3 of their opening round series Monday night.

Taurasi and Tangela Smith each scored five points during the Mercurys 14-4 run that gave Phoenix an 86-76 lead with 5:14 remaining. Taurasi also finished with six assists.

The top-seeded Mercury will open the West finals against the Los Angeles Sparks at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday night.

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Becky Hammon led the Silver Stars with 29 points while Vickie Johnson - playing the final game of her WNBA career - added 24 points, including four 3-pointers, and six rebounds.

Cappie Pondexter had 17 points while Smith added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Mercury, who were a league-best 23-11 during the regular season.

San Antonio, which lost to Detroit in the WNBA finals last year, were the first Western Conference team to make the postseason with a losing record at 15-19.

Taurasi scored 14 points in the first half and led 10-2 run that gave Phoenix a 43-35 lead with 3:14 left but San Antonio scored the last seven points of the half to pull to 43-42 at the break.

Phoenix opened up a six-point lead in the third but Edwige Lawson-Wade and Vickie Johnson hit back to back 3-pointers to tie the game and it stayed close.

Taurasi, the leagues leading scorer at 20.4 a game, hit a 26-footer at the top of key to tie the score at 72 with 8:25 left after San Antonio had taken a 72-66 lead in the first minute of the final period.

Hammon, the second-leading scorer in the WNBA this season at 19.5 a game, made 10 of 18 from the field, including 6 of 11 from beyond the arc after being held to 13 points in a Game 2 loss.

The Silver Stars won the opener of the series, 92-91, at home. Phoenix tied it with a 106-78 victory on Saturday.

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