By Dan Savage

July 17, 2008: Scoreboard | Video Play of the Day | Today in the WNBA Archive

WNBA President Donna Orender was at the Garden reading to children before the Mystics visited the Liberty on Thursday. Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
Mercury Stun Sparks to Get Back on Track

Spoil brilliant night for Milton-Jones: Whenever the fast-paced Mercury or high-scoring Sparks take the court, it’s likely that you’re going to get a good show. When both squads take the court at the same time, it’s guaranteed. Thursday’s contest was no different. Despite fighting for their playoff lives, Phoenix had no answer for DeLisha Milton-Jones in the first half as she exploded for 27 points to help Los Angeles take a solid lead into halftime. But aware of what was at stake, the Mercury turned things around in the third after Cappie Pondexter addressed her squad. “There was a moment in the third quarter where the Sparks had the momentum and we almost let it slip away,” Pondexter said. “But I just said to them, ‘(Coach Corey Gaines) said it would be tough but we have to push through and win the game,’ and, from that point forward, we didn’t look back.” The All-Star guard and her partner Diana Taurasi combined for 50 points to offset Milton-Jones’ 38-point performance and keep Phoenix in the playoff picture with a thrilling comeback win. With five more games before the Olympic break, the Mercury can get back into the swing of things if they can build on their amazing victory.

Well-balanced Liberty making strides: One of the best surprises in the WNBA this year is the New York Liberty. Written off by most pundits before the season started, New York led by Janel McCarville and Shameka Christon has emerged near the top of the East standings, courtesy of well-balanced basketball and an unselfish style of play. The Liberty continued to utilize that formula on Thursday against the Mystics. With the game hanging in the balance in the second half, New York could have chosen to feed the ball to one of their stars and put the game in the hands of Christon. But with her struggling from the field on a 1-of-9 night, the Liberty continued to use that unselfish brand of basketball and instead let the reserves handle the load. New York’s bench erupted for its final 25 points of the contest to help it dismantle Washington and notch its third straight triumph. With that type of confidence in their bench, imagine what the Liberty can do once they hit the postseason.
"We fought hard. These last couple of games really come down to whether or not we will make the playoffs, so a win tonight was important."

-- Mercury guard Cappie Pondexter on the importance of pulling out their comeback home win over the Sparks on Thursday.

Tamecka Dixon, Comets
22 pts, 9-14 FG, 4-4 FT
96-88 win vs. Lynx

DeLisha Milton-Jones, Sparks
38 pts, 13-20 FG, 5-8 3-pt FT
99-92 loss at Mercury

Candice Wiggins, Lynx
27 pts, 9-13 FG, 4-6 3-pt FT
96-88 loss at Comets

Shameka Christon, Liberty
1-9 FG, 0-4 3-pt FG, 10 pts
77-56 win vs. Mystics

Seimone Augustus, Lynx
6-20 FG, 17 pts
96-88 loss at Comets

Lisa Leslie, Sparks
4-14 FG, 11 pts
99-92 loss at Mercury

Friday's Games ...

  • Detroit at Washington, 7 p.m. ET (NBA TV)
  • Seattle at Indiana, 7 p.m. ET
  • Connecticut at Chicago, 8:30 ET (NBA TV)
  • Atlanta at Sacramento, 10 p.m. ET
  • Jones

    It’s safe to say that no team has benefited more from their 2008 WNBA Draft class than the Minnesota Lynx. With two players atop the Rookie Rankings, it’s easy to see why Minnesota is having a turnaround season this year. Candice Wiggins and Nicky Anosike continued to produce on Thursday combining for 19 points in the fourth quarter – 35 in all – against the Comets. Unfortunately, they did not get enough help from their supporting cast as the Lynx dropped a 96-88 decision on the road.
    Tina Thompson has done a lot in her stellar 12-year career with the Houston Comets. The former first-overall selection is a four-time All-Star, a former All-Star game MVP, the second all-time leading scorer in WNBA history and a four-time WNBA champion. But on Thursday, Thompson did something she had never done before. For the first time in her amazing career, she came off the bench to play in a WNBA game. Just like everything she has done so far, Thompson did it extremely well. The Olympian erupted for 25 points off the pine to lift the Comets over the Lynx, snapping their three-game skid.