by Andrew Nordmeier
September 2, 2007 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) - Phoenix Mercury
The Phoenix Mercury is going to the WNBA Finals following a 98-92 win over the San Antonio Silver Stars Saturday afternoon at the US Airways Center in Phoenix and won the best-of-three series 2-0.
"It really is great, it\'s a good feeling" Phoenix Guard Diana Taurasi said while wearing a purple, champagne-soaked Western Conference Champions tee shirt, "For our team to win the last two games like we did isn\'t easy. San Antonio played probably two of the best games I\'ve ever seen a team play."
It took one play to end the Silver Stars\' season and it came off the hands off Phoenix forward Penny Taylor.
Taylor was being guarded loosely and got the ball just outside the three-point stripe. She fired off a 23-foot jumper that went in and was fouled by Marie Ferdinand-Harris in the process. Taylor hit the ensuing free throw and put Phoenix up 93-86 with 1:05 left; the Silver Stars didn\'t get closer than six points down the stretch.
"The three was really because Cappie got doubled because they couldn\'t stop her drive and I was left open," Taylor said, "They came back to try and defend the shot afterwards."
Despite seeing his team\'s season end, San Antonio Head Coach Dan Hughes was still proud of his Silver Stars squad.
"There was a lot of good basketball played in this series," Hughes said, "I was disappointed we didn\'t close the deal because I thought a third game was deserved in this series. I can\'t tell you how proud I am of the group of people that I have been involved with this year."
Cappie Pondexter led all scorers with a 33-point, 10-rebound effort. Pondexter\'s 33-point night was the single best performance in Phoenix playoff history. She also had eight assists, two shy of recording a triple-double.
Taylor chipped in 23 in the wining effort while Diana Taurasi hit for 18 and Kelly Miller scored 15 in clinching the series sweep for the Mercury.
San Antonio was led by Shanna Crossley\'s 20 points off the bench, highlighted by 6-of-10 shooting from three point range. Sophia Young added 19 points and 10 rebounds in the losing effort. Becky Hammon chipped in 14 hard-fought points before fouling out.
"Crossley almost shot us out of town," Phoenix Head Coach Paul Westhead said," We know Crossley is a great shooter and we don\'t want her to get open shots when she is coming off picks."
Phoenix secured its second trip in team history to the WNBA Finals with the win. The only other time Phoenix made the finals was in 1998 when they fell in three games to the Houston Comets when they won the first four WNBA titles in the league\'s history.
The Mercury awaits the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals series between Detroit and Indiana which the Fever leads 1-0 with game two coming on Sunday in Detroit.
"Detroit and Indiana are going to keep beating each other up," Taurasi said, "A day off is always nice especially with the way we play because it takes a toll on you so the next couple of days will be good to refresh mentally and physically."
Notes: Phoenix is the only WNBA team to win on the road in this playoff year
as 12 of the 14 games played to this point have been won by the home
team...Phoenix is the sole undefeated team in the playoffs at 4-0 and had
never swept a playoff series before pulling back-to-back broomings of
Seattle and San Antonio...Phoenix is averaging 99 points per game in the WNBA
finals and has yet to be held under 95 points in any game so far in the
playoff year...Attendance was 8,106.