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Mercury win club-record sixth straight, but miss playoffs

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Despite narrowly missing out on a playoff
berth, the Phoenix Mercury believe they belong in the postseason.

Diana Taurasi scored 26 points and Kelly Miller added 20 to lead
Phoenix to a 95-93 victory over the San Antonio Silver Stars on
Saturday night, hours after the Mercury were eliminated from the
playoff race.

"We are just as good as any team in the WNBA," Taurasi said.

Phoenix (17-16) won a franchise-record sixth straight game as
all five starters scored in double figures. However, the Mercury
lost out on a playoff berth when Houston defeated Seattle 89-72
earlier in the day.

"We played well tonight," Taurasi said. "The best part was we
played for us. We knew we were out of the playoffs, so we were just
having fun as a team."

Shannon Johnson scored 28 points, Katie Feenstra had 24 and
Shanna Zolman 18 -- all season highs -- to lead San Antonio (13-21),
which nearly doubled its win total (seven) from last season.
Johnson was 5-for-7 from 3-point territory and Zolman was 4-for-7.

Zolman's 3 with 18 seconds left pulled the Silver Stars to
94-91, but Miller hit a free throw 3 seconds later to seal
Phoenix's win.

Johnson, Feenstra and Zolman combined to shoot 27-of-44 from the
floor. The rest of the Silver Stars went 6-for-32.

Phoenix was outrebounded 55-40, but the Mercury outscored the
Silver Stars 24-4 on the fast break.

"I felt we were playing a basket or two behind the whole
game," Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes said.

The Mercury, who host defending champion Sacramento in the
season finale on Sunday night, have a chance for their first
winning season since 2000.

Phoenix matched its biggest lead of the game when Miller
converted a four-point play to give Phoenix an 84-77 lead with 6:10
remaining in the game.

The Mercury made their first six shots from the floor to start
the game. Their first miss didn't come until almost 4 minutes into
the game, and the Mercury led 17-10 with 5:35 remaining in the
first quarter when Taurasi hit her second 3 in as many tries.

She went 1-for-10 from 3-point territory the rest of the game.

However, the Silver Stars took a lead late in the quarter as
Johnson ended the period with 15 points.

San Antonio led 42-41 at halftime, helped by a 15-1 advantage in
offensive rebounds.