Pondexter off to hot start despite circumstances

Mercury Put Opener Behind Them

By Matt Paulson
May 20, 2008

On three hours of sleep, playing in a time zone 10 hours removed from where she had spent a majority of the offseason and minus a single practice with her teammates, all Cappie Pondexter did Saturday was come up with the third-highest-scoring game of her career.

Her 32 points were three off her WNBA high, and she came within inches of matching that with a 3-point attempt in the closing seconds of a 99-94 season-opening loss to Los Angeles.

So what can be expected from the third-year guard tonight in San Antonio after having all Sunday to rest and finally going through a practice on Monday?

“Hopefully we can go to San Antonio and get a win. That would be perfect,” said Pondexter, speaking the way she plays by putting the team first.

Despite the defeat, the Mercury had an upbeat practice Monday and spoke of their opener as if it were a mulligan.

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“I told them their season starts in San Antonio,” coach Corey Gaines said.

While most of the final statistics favored the Sparks, Phoenix left Saturday feeling optimistic, and that attitude didn’t change Monday.

“We took a lot of positive things out of the game, instead of just the fact that we lost,” Pondexter said. “I think it was a good loss. It showed us where we needed to improve.”

The most obvious area is rebounding. Phoenix lost the battle of the boards 42-30 and gave up 13 offensive rebounds. Two of those came in the final 3:15 and led to four points, which kept Phoenix from possibly tying the score on its next possession each time.

Still, Gaines said there’s no reason to be concerned about that area yet.

“The first half, we got outrebounded by 11; the second half, by one,” he said.

“We got pushed under the basket. They were long. (6-foot-4) Candace (Parker) was their smallest (post). They were big.”

“No problem,” he added. “It was one game.”

“Hopefully we can go to San Antonio and get a win. That would be perfect. ”

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