Jackson, Cash, Swoopes combine for 54 points as Storm improve to 6-0 at home

SEATTLE (AP) -- Coming off an injury-filled season, Storm forward Sheryl Swoopes is starting to find her old form.

Swoopes scored a season-high 17 points to help Seattle to an 83-77 victory on Wednesday night.

"I'm finally getting my timing back," she said. "Obviously, the physical part is important but right now it's more mental than physical. To be able to come out and just play and enjoy it and not feeling the pain I was feeling before is a great feeling."

Lauren Jackson, Swin Cash and Swoopes combined for 54 points.

Diana Taurasi scored a season-high 37 points, including seven 3-pointers, to lead Phoenix (2-5). The Mercury had won two consecutive games after opening with four losses in a row.

Swoopes hit a 3-pointer with 30.9 seconds remaining to give the Storm (7-3) an 81-75 lead after the Mercury had cut the margin to three points on a 3-pointer by Cappie Pondexter, who finished with 18 points and seven assists.

"I knew it was going in when I let it go," Swoopes said. "If I would've taken that shot even a week ago, I might have doubts it was going in. Tonight, there was no doubt in my mind."

Swoopes is coming off back surgery last October after an injury limited her to just three games with the Houston Comets last season.

Yolanda Griffith scored nine of her season-high 11 points in the third quarter to help the Storm to a 56-49 lead after three quarters.

Jackson had 20 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks for Seattle, which won its sixth consecutive home game this season, the best home start in team history. Seattle has won 10 in a row at home over the past two years. Cash added 17 points.

"It's a rockin' arena every time we come here," Taurasi said. "The fans get after you and get loud. They go on a five-point run and the building is going crazy."

Taurasi scored 11 points in the second quarter to pull the Mercury within one point at halftime 36-35.

Cash had 14 points to lead the Storm in the first half, topping the 2,500-point mark for her career.

Taurasi and Pondexter, who entered the game as the top two scorers in the league, kept the Mercury close. Taurasi hit a 3-pointer and had a three-point play to cut the lead to 70-66 with 3:27 left before the Storm responded.

Seattle coach Brian Agler enjoyed the shooting performance of Swoopes, who also had six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

"The one from the corner and the one in the lane going left is a sign that she's starting to come back," Agler said. "Because that's what she used to be able to do, hit those deep 3s and then go left and pull up."

Swoopes said she felt great before the game and had a feeling it might be a strong night for her.

"My body feels really good right now," she said. "I feel like I still have a long ways to go to get to where I want to be, but I feel I'm headed in the right direction."

Seattle overcame an outstanding performance by Taurasi.

"Diana made some crazy shots for them," Storm guard Sue Bird said. "But that's what she can do when she gets hot like that."

Game notes
Phoenix starting center Tangela Smith sat out the game with a bruised right knee sustained in the first half June 6 against Los Angeles. She averages 12 points and 7.8 rebounds. Barbara Farris started in place of Smith and had five points.