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Mercury outlast Shock, 97-90 in OT, minus Taurasi
Posted Jul 19 2009 12:55AM
PHOENIX(AP) Without suspended star Diana Taurasi, the Phoenix Mercury still had enough offense to beat the Detroit Shock - it just took five extra minutes.
Le'Coe Willingham scored six points in overtime, including two free throws with 7.1 seconds left to help seal it for the Phoenix Mercury, who beat the Detroit Shock 97-90 on Saturday night Taurasi serving the first game of her two-game suspension.
Taurasi, the WNBA's leading scorer, was suspended this week by the team without pay after she was cited on drunken-driving related charges. She will also sit out Wednesday against Minnesota.
"There were a lot of points missing,'' Mercury guard Cappie Pondexter said. "But it just showed us how great we can be even when one of our best players is not in the game and we're still able to win.''
Pondexter had 26 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for Phoenix (12-4), which has won six straight.
"Everyone collectively knew we had to step up with Diana not being here,'' said Willingham, who scored 22 points and had seven rebounds. "But at the same time, with her not being here, we have a team that can hurt you from many different areas.''
Katie Smith led the Shock (4-8) with 21 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, as Detroit erased a five-point deficit going into the final period.
Willingham had a put back with 38 seconds remaining in regulation to put the Mercury ahead 81-79 but Deanna Nolan hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 6 seconds left to tie it at 83 and force the extra period.
"They can score in different positions so we had to get back in defensive transition,'' said Detroit coach Rick Mahorn. "We weren't getting any calls, sometimes you figure you can get some calls going to the basket, but they were the aggressors and they got those calls.''
Kara Braxton added 18 points and nine rebounds for the Shock, who had won two straight coming into the game.
Tameka Johnson had 18 points for Phoenix.
"I got to get in better shape,'' Pondexter said. "Because there might be some more times when I have to play 40 minutes.''
Phoenix's winning streak is its longest since a six-game streak in 2007, the season the Mercury beat Detroit for the WNBA title.
Taurasi, the top pick in the 2004 WNBA draft, leads the league in scoring at 20.7 points a game and has led the league in scoring two of the last three years.
Detroit is 1-2 in overtime and Phoenix has won both of its overtime games this season.