HOUSTON (AP) -- Diana Taurasi put up a record-breaking
performance in a game her team had to win.
Taurasi scored a WNBA record 47 points Thursday night to lead
the Mercury to a 111-110 triple-overtime win over the Houston
Comets in the highest-scoring game in league history.
"It was a great basketball performance," said Phoenix coach
Paul Westhead. "I had no idea what she had, but she was in the
40s somewhere, but had she not fouled out it could have been
well into the fifties."
She broke Katie Smith's record of 46 points that she set in 2001
against the Los Angeles Sparks while playing for Minnesota. Taurasi
wasn't around for the end as she fouled out with 2:45 left in the
second overtime, just 35 seconds after she broke the mark.
Penny Taylor added 19 points for the Mercury, who need to win
their remaining two games -- and hope the Comets lose at home to
Seattle on Saturday -- to qualify for the postseason.
"What's even better about this night is that we won," Taurasi
said. "All year we have been playing with our backs against the
wall and today everyone chipped in to get a little piece of the
At 16-16 overall, the Mercury reached the .500 mark for the
first time all season.
Tina Thompson, in her first game back after missing 13 contests
with a strained right calf, scored a career-high 37 points for the
Comets, who could have clinched a playoff berth with a win.
Thompson also added a career-high 16 rebounds and was just two
assists shy of a triple-double.
"It's a game of runs," Thompson said. "We had ours and they
had theirs. We let them get up early and then we had to fight to
get back in the game. Being at home, it never should have gotten
into a situation where we were down by double-digits.
"But it is what it is."
Sheryl Swoopes scored a season-high 30 points for the Comets,
who have lost four of their past five games.
Taurasi hit a long 3-pointer to give the Mercury a 102-99 lead
before getting called for a charge against Thompson.
"It's especially nice against a team that's legendary when you
talk about the WNBA," Taurasi said. "For us to come in here and
win a game like that it means a lot."
Houston, which trailed by as many as 11 points in the game, took
a 110-107 lead when Thompson made her final shot of the night with
just 1:38 left in the third overtime.
But the Mercury answered quickly with a basket by Jennifer
Derevjanik before taking over on defense. Kelly Miller gave the
Mercury the lead with a pair of free throws after being fouled by
Thompson with 16.4 seconds left.
The Comets had one last chance, but Dawn Staley's shot at the
buzzer was partially blocked by Derevjanik.
"I didn't want the game to go into another overtime," Miller
said. "I concentrated and put them in. Sure there was pressure,
but I tried not to think about it."
Since winning three of four from July 20 to Aug. 4, the Comets
have lost three straight games, all with a chance to get to the
postseason for the ninth time in 10 years.
"I really feel sorry for our team," Houston coach Van Chancellor said. "We got
some great looks at the basket, but at the end we just couldn't
make anything. I thought we played as hard as we could."
The teams eclipsed the scoring mark of 204 set on June 1, 2000,
when Sacramento beat Detroit 108-96.