"Coach always talks about it: you’ve got the four wheels, Cappie, Penny, Tangela, and me,” says Diana Taurasi. “But Kelly (Miller) really is the motor. She gets this team going."
Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images
Kelly Miller a quiet contributor for Phoenix
Unsung Hero on Point
By Brian Martin, WNBA.com

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Sept. 9, 2007 -- When you think of the 2007 Phoenix Mercury, the "The Big Three" are bound to spring to mind. Diana Taurasi, Cappie Pondexter and Penny Taylor have all had All-Star seasons.

Some will even expand the group to "The Big Four" and include center Tangela Smith in the mix.

But someone is left out.

The one starter rarely mentioned is unheralded point guard Kelly Miller. But if you ask the Mercury players and coaches, they'll tell you just how vital Miller is to the team's success.

"Everybody asks me who our most important player is," said Phoenix coach Paul Westhead after Game 2 of the 2007 WNBA Finals. "Our players would probably say Kelly Miller is their most valuable player.

"She does all of those little intangibles over and over and over again at about a hundred miles an hour. Where others even on our team seem to tire or want to catch their breath, her motor is still running. She'll be ahead of them, saying, 'Where is everybody?'"

Taurasi was quick to back up her coach's praise for Miller.

"Coach always talks about it: you've got the four wheels, Cappie, Penny, Tangela, and me," she said. "But Kelly really is the motor. She gets this team going.

"She does so much for us," Taurasi continued. "She really is the unsung hero. We get a lot of the credit, but it really is a lot of Kelly Miller that gets us our opportunities. She's just amazing."

In the Mercury's 98-70 win over the Shock on Saturday, Miller struggled with her outside shot, but finished the game with 13 points, nine rebounds, five assists and only one turnover. She led the team in offensive rebounds with three and only the 6-foot-4 Smith had more total boards than the 5-foot-10 Miller.

"Every chance (the Shock had) to kind of get back into it (in Game 2), it was either a Kelly Miller tip-in or a Kelly Miller offensive rebound," said Taurasi.

"Sometimes your shot if off, but I tried to get in the game in other ways, get my teammates open shots," Miller said after Game 2. "Sometimes (the shots) fall and sometimes they don't, so you just have to try to stay with it."

Taurasi was one of the players for whom Miller found open shots, as she led the team with 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting, including 7-of-14 from 3-point range. Despite leading the way for Phoenix, Taurasi was eager to share the credit with her teammates.

"We played really well today. Everyone stepped up huge and made huge shots and plays. You can look up and down the stat sheet, but the one person who made the biggest difference is Kelly Miller," said Taurasi. "She was just all over the floor, she was active, and that's what she's been doing all year. She was amazing tonight."

With Detroit's size advantage over Phoenix in the frontcourt, the Mercury have to "defend and rebound by committee," as Pondexter put it. And Miller was definitely a part of that committee in Game 2.

"I believe she is the X-factor," said Smith. "She does whatever it takes to get the job done. You saw that (Saturday), whether it's offensive rebounds or getting in the passing lanes and getting steals. She's just a great player. If we didn't have her I don't think we'd be here right now."

Where the Mercury sit right now is two wins away from their first WNBA Championship with the next two games on their home floor.

In order to close out the defending champs, it will take performances like they had in Game 2 from "The Big Four." Oh, and Kelly Miller.