By Michael Levine

August 24, 2007: Scoreboard | Video Play of the Day | Photo Gallery | Today in the WNBA Archive

Lauren Jackson was named the Defensive Player of the Year before Game 1 against Phoenix.T. Vaccaro/NBAE/Getty
Other awards: All-Defensive Team | McCarville Most Improved
Phoenix's Playoff Return a Success

Mercury Lone Road Team to Win Game 1: Phoenix had not been postseason participants in seven years, and hadn't won a playoff game since 1998, but it didn't take long for the Mercury to get comfortable and put their stamp on the 2007 playoffs. They set a franchise playoff record with 101 points and all five starters reached double digits in a 17-point victory in Seattle to earn a 1-0 series lead. Penny Taylor and postseason newcomer Diana Taurasi scored 22 apiece and Cappie Pondexter added 21. Betty Lennox scored 23 to lead the Storm. Phoenix became the lone road Game 1 victor, and will have an opportunity to advance to the Western Conference Finals with another win Sunday at home.

Title Defense Off to Shocking Start: Detroit was the only team to win its final playoff game in 2006, but there was little carryover in its 2007 postseason opener. The Shock were knotted with the Liberty at 25 apiece at halftime, and then New York used an 18-0 third-quarter spurt to pull away in a 73-51 home win. Shameka Christon tallied 16 points and a franchise playoff-record 15 rebounds, and Janel McCarville and Cathrine Kraayeveld scored 13 apiece. Detroit, which got 16 points from Deanna Nolan, only briefly got back within single digits, and will need to win Sunday's Game 2 and Tuesday's Game 3, both at home, to avoid a first-round exit.
"New York played hard. They displayed a hard-nosed basketball game like how you are supposed to in the playoffs. We came to play a basketball game and a poor one if that. We deserved to lose and there are no ifs, ands, or maybes about it. We played dysfunctionally offensively and defensively."

-- Shock head coach Bill Laimbeer on his team's Game 1 struggles in New York on Friday. Detroit trailed by as many as 26 in the 73-51 defeat.

Penny Taylor, Mercury
22 pts, 8-16 FG, 5-5 FT
101-84 win at Storm

Shameka Christon, Liberty
16 pts, 5-10 FG, 5-6 FT
73-51 win vs. Shock

Katie Smith, Shock
0-7 FG, 0-4 3-pt FG, 0 pts
73-51 loss at Liberty

Belinda Snell, Mercury
0-5 FG, 0-3 3-pt FG, 0 pts
101-84 win at Storm

Saturday's Games ...

  • Monarchs at Silver Stars, 1 ET (ESPN2)
  • Sun at Fever, 4 ET (NBA TV)
  • Hammon