Taurasi sinks winning basket as Phoenix dashes Chicago

7/28/2007 - WNBA Chicago Sky Phoenix Mercury + more

CHICAGO -- Diana Taurasi scored 26 points, including the game-winning shot with five seconds left, to lift the Phoenix Mercury to an 98-96 victory over the Chicago Sky on Friday night.

"Sometimes you get lucky," Taurasi said. "I got very lucky. [Jia Perkins] whacked my arm, I just threw it up there and the heavens were with us today."

Tangela Smith had 19 points, Kelly Miller scored 17, Cappie Pondexter 16 and Penny Taylor 14 for Phoenix (15-10), which won for the fourth time in five games.

The Mercury are tied with Sacramento for second in the Western Conference, one game behind San Antonio, and improved to 4-0 all-time against Chicago.

Stacey Dales had a season-high 23 points and broke her own franchise record with seven 3-pointers for the Sky. Cathy Joens added a career-high 21 points for Chicago (10-14), which snapped a three-game winning streak and fell into a three-way tie with New York and Washington for fourth place in the East. The 96 points marked a regulation franchise record for Chicago.

"It's like they say, you live by the 3 or die by the 3," Taurasi said. "But when you go [15-for-32], that's amazing. You shouldn't lose games when you make [15] 3s."

Taylor found a cutting Taurasi, who made up a running, off-balance hook shot while being fouled. Taurasi missed the free throw, and Chasity Melvin grabbed the rebound and called a time out with 3.6 seconds remaining.

"You can't [do anything about it]," Dales said. "That's Diana Taurasi, she makes plays."

Joens airballed a 3-pointer with 1 second remaining.

Two free throws from Pondexter cut the Sky's lead to 95-94 with 1:36 remaining in the fourth quarter. After Candice Dupree hit one free throw, Taylor hit a pair of free throws to tie it at 96 with 1:17 left in regulation. Dupree finished with 18 points.

Joens and Perkins hit three straight 3s to give Chicago a 93-89 lead with 3:50 left in the fourth quarter. Dales hit consecutive 3s to cut the Sky's deficit to 85-82 with 6:44 left in the fourth quarter.

The Mercury took a 80-71 lead after Taurasi hit consecutive 3s to start the fourth quarter and cap a 12-0 run.

"It was an intense, up-and-down game," Phoenix coach Paul Westhead said. "We want to create that and Chicago was very with us."

Phoenix took its first lead of the second half at 65-63 on Pondexter's jumper with 2:11 remaining in the third.

Chicago took its biggest lead of the game at 52-41 on a pair of free throws from Dupree after Taurasi picked up her third foul with 4 seconds remaining in the first half.

The Sky opened the second quarter on a 21-8 run, capped by Joens' fourth 3 of the game, to take a 40-31 lead with 3:36 left in the period.

The Mercury used their up-tempo style to go on a 18-3 run that put Phoenix up 10 with 4:10 left in the first quarter. Dales tied the game at 19 with 1:06 left in the first when she hit a 3 to cap an 11-1 run.