Mercury 77

(19-15, 8-9 away)

Storm 75

(21-13, 15-2 home)

    Coverage: ESPN2/WatchESPN

    10:00 PM ET, September 19, 2011

    Key Arena, Seattle, WA

    1 2 3 4 T
    PHX 9 21 24 2377
    SEA 20 19 18 1875

    Top Performers

    Phoenix: P. Taylor 19 Pts, 17 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl

    Seattle: S. Bird 22 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    Mercury-Storm Preview


    A victory over the visiting Phoenix Mercury earlier this month gave the Seattle Storm home-court advantage in the first round. The defending WNBA champions will try to make the most of it with their series against Phoenix on the line.

    The Storm go for their seventh straight win over the Mercury at KeyArena on Monday night in Game 3 of this Western Conference semifinal matchup.

    Seattle tied for the best home record (15-2) in the WNBA during the regular season and has won seven in a row overall at KeyArena.

    "We have a history of playing well at home. I don't know if there's anything in particular," coach Brian Agler said. "We have a great crowd, obviously. It's almost like they are alive in unison there and it's a unique situation. But we don't take anything for granted. Just because we are at home we don't take (Game 3) for granted."

    By virtue of an 85-70 victory over Phoenix on Sept. 9, Seattle clinched the No. 2 seed and the right to host the Mercury twice in the opening round, if necessary. That second home game is needed after Phoenix rebounded from an 80-61 Game 1 loss in Seattle on Thursday with Saturday's 92-83 home win.

    Led by Candice Dupree's season-high 29 points, the third-seeded Mercury shot 55.1 percent and outrebounded the Storm 37-24 to stave off elimination.

    "Shot the ball better, up-tempo game is our game," said coach Corey Gaines, whose team averaged a league-best 89.0 points. "I guess if we walk the ball down the court and play their style, they are better at that than we are. Hopefully we are better at the up-tempo game than they are."

    Phoenix will look to keep up the pace Monday after being unable to get much offense going in Game 1, shooting 29.7 percent.

    That was the sixth straight loss in Seattle for the Mercury, who have lost 11 of 13 overall against the Storm, including playoffs.

    "It's no secret we have had a lot of struggles against Seattle," Diana Taurasi said Saturday after scoring 26 points -- 15 more than in Game 1. "But I think we've always taken the good things that we've done. I think we came back to Phoenix not defeated one bit. They took care of home court. We took care of home court."

    If the Mercury are going to advance to the conference finals for the third consecutive season -- they were swept by Seattle in that round in 2010 -- they'll have to post their first victory at KeyArena since a 92-84 overtime win Sept. 10, 2009.

    They likely have to do a better job on the defensive end if they're going to advance to face top-seeded Minnesota or San Antonio.

    The Mercury's point total Saturday matched a season high against Seattle, which led the league in scoring defense (69.9 points per game).

    "We kind of were reacting to them as opposed to dictating things," All-Star point guard Sue Bird said after the Storm's eight-game playoff winning streak ended. "With a team like Phoenix, you can't do that, you really can't."