Mercury Beats Silver Stars in Playoff Opener
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PHOENIX (AP) -- Candice Dupree scored a career-high 32 points to lead the Phoenix Mercury to a 106-93 win over the San Antonio Silver Stars on Thursday night in the first game of the best-of-three Western Conference semifinals.
Game 2 is Saturday in San Antonio with a deciding game, if needed, on Monday in Phoenix.
Dupree, a fifth-year forward acquired in the offseason by the Mercury from Chicago, was playing in her first WNBA postseason game.
Penny Taylor added 20 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Mercury while WNBA leading scorer Diana Taurasi was held to 14 points but added 10 assists.
Becky Hammon led the Silver Stars with 19 points while Sophia Young added 16 points and nine rebounds, although she was nearly shutout in the first half.
The Mercury beat the Silver Stars in three games in the first round last year. Dupree scored 32 points against Minnesota on July 24. Despite picking up her fourth foul, Dupree scored 10 points in the third quarter and Phoenix finished the period on an 11-3 run to extend its lead to 77-63 going into the final quarter.
The two teams split their four regular season games, with San Antonio beating Phoenix 83-82 in Sunday's regular season finale on a last-second three-point play, although the Mercury sat two of their stars, Taurasi and Taylor.
The Mercury averaged 93.9 points a game but also gave up 93.8 points a game this season in Corey Gaines' up-tempo style.
Dupree scored 18 points and had five rebounds, just one field goal short of the league playoff record for most baskets in a half.
After Phoenix scored the first six points of the second quarter, San Antonio found some offense, hitting four 3-pointers in a span of 4:19 to cut the lead. San Antonio got within 46-39 at the break.
Phoenix made 10 of its first 15 shots, repeatedly going inside against a smaller Silver Stars lineup. The Mercury ran off 13 straight points and capped a 21-5 run with a pretty Dupree-to-Bonner-to-Dupree basket off a Silver Stars turnover that gave the Mercury a 23-10 lead. Dupree scored 12 points, all in the lane, to lead Phoenix to a 25-16 advantage after one.
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