Sky Clipped By Mercury
Tangela Smith triggered the Phoenix inbounds pass to Chicago-native Cappie Pondexter who dribbled the ball over to the right sideline and watched the clock tick down. Pondexter handed off to Penny Taylor at the top of the key, and she fired a pass to a cutting Diana Taurasi across the middle of the lane. Taurasi threw up an unlikely, off-balance, one-handed hook shot as she was fouled to give her team the lead and the win, 98-96.
“She's a great player. That shot she made, that was probably the best possession we defended in the second half, and she threw that shot in,” said Sky Head Coach Bo Overton. “She's a great player and made a great play there at the end.."
Taurasi missed her free throw attempt and the Sky’s Chasity Melvin grabbed the rebound and called time-out with 3.3 seconds to go in the game.
Out of the time-out, Dominique Canty in-bounded the ball to Cathy Joens who came through a double screen at the top of the three-point line. Joens turned and launched up her 13th three-point attempt of the night, but the shot fell short as time expired on the Sky and their three-game winning streak.
"It's always tough when you lay everything on the line like that and come up short like we did,” said Overton. “That's the tough part of it. Those guys gave it everything they had. We just got off the bus at 4 a.m. (from a game in Detroit the night before), and for them to come and put out a performance like that, it's a pretty special thing."
Taurasi led all scorers in the ball game, dropping 26 on 10 of 14 shooting from the floor.
Stacey Dales set a new record for the Sky for three-pointers made in a game, connecting on 7 and breaking her old record of 6 set back on June 22, 2006 against the Minnesota Lynx. Rookie Cathy Joens had a career-high 21 points off the bench, on 6-of-10 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc.
Both teams threw up a barrage of three-pointers, and both were deadly accurate. The Sky shot 46.9% from behind the arc on 15-of-32 shooting; the Mercury shot 54.7% on 9-of-16 shooting from the perimeter.
The Sky took an 8-point lead into half-time after outscoring the Mercury by 11 in the 2nd quarter. The 33 points scored by the Sky in the second quarter was a new record for points scored in a quarter at UIC Pavilion.
Phoenix fired right back in the third, outscoring the Sky by 11 in the frame, spearheaded by Kelly Miller’s 11 points. Miller scored 17 on the night.
Early on in the fourth quarter, the Mercury jumped out to a game-high 10 point lead at 83-73. The Sky responded with a 20-6 run to take back the lead at 93-89. The lead was sparked by a Joens’ three, followed up by two consecutive Perkins’ threes. Perkins finished with 11. Candice Dupree got off to a slow start, going scoreless until mid-way through the second quarter; she finished with 18 points.
"I was really proud of how we competed and got out there with them,” said Overton. “There were just a couple stretches where we couldn't stop them. We've gotta give them a lot of credit. They've got four or five players at any time on the floor who can shoot threes or take you off the dribble. They're hard to handle."
The Sky will try and inch back into the fourth Eastern Conference playoff spot this Sunday at 5pm when they host the Houston Comets at UIC Pavilion.