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Phoenix 111, Houston 110 (3-OT)
Taurasi Scores Record 47 Points, Mercury Win in 3-OT
HOUSTON, Aug. 10 (Ticker) -- In perhaps the greatest game in WNBA history, Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury kept alive their faint playoff hopes.
Taurasi scored a league-record 47 points before fouling out and the Mercury outlasted Tina Thompson and the Houston Comets, 111-110, in a triple-overtime thriller.
There was much at stake for the Mercury (16-16), who are out of the Western Conference postseason picture with another loss or one more win by the Comets (17-16), who wasted a chance to clinch the final playoff berth.
The WNBA scoring leader at 24.5 points per game, Taurasi shattered her previous high of 41 set in a 98-95 loss here July 27. She made 17-of-33 shots - including 8-of-16 3-pointers, both WNBA records - and added nine assists and six rebounds.
With her eighth 3-pointer at the 3:20 mark of the second overtime, Taurasi broke the previous mark of 46 points set by Katie Smith of Minnesota at Los Angeles in an OT game on July 8, 2001.
However, Taurasi fouled out 35 seconds later, and Houston pulled into a 103-103 tie on a bank shot by Sheryl Swoopes with 1:54 remaining.
Phoenix's Kelly Miller and Swoopes traded baskets and Swoopes missed twice in the waning seconds, sending the contest to a third extra session.
A 3-pointer by Thompson - sidelined since July 5 with a strained right calf - gave the Comets a 110-107 lead with 1:38 left and had the Mercury's prospects looking dim. But Jennifer Derevjanik answered with a jumper 22 seconds later and Miller drained two foul shots with 16 seconds to go, giving Phoenix a 111-110 lead.
Houston had a chance to win, but Dawn Staley' s desperation shot was partially blocked by Derevjanik and never hit the rim.
Penny Taylor scored 19 points and rookie Cappie Pondexter added 15 for the Mercury, who shot 45 percent (42-of-94). Belinda Snell contributed 11 points.
Thompson was phenomenal with 37 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists - all career highs. Swoopes scored 30 points and Michelle Snow added 12 and 12 rebounds for the Comets, who shot 40 percent (38-of-94).
Snow saved Houston at the end of regulation. After two free throws by Taurasi gave Phoenix an 86-85 lead with 31 seconds to play, Snow responded with a layup.
Taylor had a layup and added a free throw after a turnover by Swoopes, giving the Comets an 89-87 edge with seven seconds to go. But Snow grabbed an offensive rebound and put in a layup at the buzzer, forcing overtime.
A layup by Sancho Lyttle gave Houston 95-91 lead with 1:57 left in the first OT, but Taurasi drilled a pair of 3-pointers around two free throws by Staley, pulling the Mercury into a 97-97 tie with seven seconds left.
Houston closes its season Saturday at Seattle, with the winner getting the third seed in the West. If the Comets lose and the Mercury win their last two games, Phoenix is in the playoffs.
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