Pondexter, Mercury top Shock, Force Game 5
PHOENIX (AP) -- Cappie Pondexter picked a big moment to hit a big shot. Pondexter scored a game-high 26 points, including a driving bank shot with 21 seconds to play, and the Phoenix Mercury defeated the Detroit Shock 77-76 on Thursday night to force a deciding fifth game in the WNBA finals.
The finale is Sunday afternoon in Detroit.
Plenette Pierson scored 23 points in a reserve role for Detroit.
Diana Taurasi added 20 points for the Mercury, who have not lost consecutive games since the two games before the All-Star break.
Detroit led 74-73 when Pierson turned the ball over with 51 seconds to go.
On the next possession, Pondexter hit a 5-footer from the left baseline to put the Mercury up 75-74.
After Detroit's Deanna Nolan answered with a 16-footer, Pondexter barreled into the lane and scored to give Phoenix a 77-76 lead.
Detroit's Shannon Johnson missed a 12-footer at the buzzer to spark a wild celebration by the Mercury.
The Mercury finished fast, but they didn't start that way.
Phoenix shot 34.7 percent from the floor in an 88-83 loss in Game 3 — matching the worst shooting percentage in Paul Westhead's two seasons as head coach.
The Mercury came out just as cold this time, hitting 2 of their first 11 shots and finishing the first period 5-for-18 (27.8 percent).
But Detroit was even more out of sync, and the Mercury went on a 14-4 run late in the first quarter and early in the second to take a 22-14 lead.
The Shock found their rhythm in the second quarter, hitting 9-of-19 shots to take a 35-33 halftime lead.
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