Cappie Caps Off a Huge Series
Posted: Sept. 1, 2007
What does a superstar guard eat before erupting for a season-high 33 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists?
"IHOP," said the Mercury's Cappie Pondexter.
Well, it must have worked, because Pondexter was a woman possessed, shooting 12-of-19 from the floor and 4-of-6 from 3-point land in Phoenix's 98-92 win over the Silver Stars on Saturday. The victory clinched the Western Conference Finals for the Mercury, sweeping San Antonio 2-0.
"We really rode Cappie today," said Diana Taurasi, who posted 18 points of her own. "She was Superwoman today. That was the best game I've seen a player have in a long time."
As noteworthy as Pondexter's explosion was in Game 2, what was more telling was her ability to shake off some early-season struggles against San Antonio and come up huge during the postseason.
The second-year guard suffered two of her worst two performances of the year against the Silver Stars, the first being a 1-for-8 outing on opening night. But Pondexter more than rebounded against her nemesis in the Western Conference Finals, compiling 26 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two clutch free throws in Game 1, which was promptly followed by her devastating performance in Game 2.
"I've just been trying to attack the rim and make plays," said the former Rutgers standout. "But I have to credit my teammates and the coaches for giving me great opportunities."
When asked about her difficulties against the Silver Stars early on, she chalked it up to a mini-slump that she was undergoing at the time.
"I wasn't really consistent in the first half of the season," explained Pondexter. "It was just mental stuff where I had to stop doubting myself and stop trying to do so much."
"I was just thinking too much about my shot or how I should attack on offense," said the 5-9 guard. "I think it's something every player goes through and I just needed to put in a little extra time in the gym, give it all I had and work my through it during the second half of the season."
With this being the Mercury's first WNBA Finals appearance since 1998, the team is eagerly awaiting the outcome of the Detroit Shock-Indiana Fever series in the Eastern Conference Finals. Indiana leads Detroit 1-0 and is looking to eliminate the defending champs on Sunday.
Winners of nine straight, and 15 of their last 16, it doesn't seem like there is any stopping the Mercury or Pondexter. The two-time All-Star has statistically been the best guard in the 2007 WNBA Playoffs, averaging a playoff-best 24 points and 5.3 assists. She is also averaging 5.7 rebounds to go along with her already gaudy numbers.
"Right now, Cappie is hands-down the best player in the world," said Taurasi.
If she stays that way, the Valley of the Sun could be hoisting up its first-ever WNBA Championship banner.