Final/OT

Mercury 92

(23-10, 11-6 away)

Storm 84

(19-14, 13-4 home)

    10:00 PM ET, September 10, 2009

    Key Arena, Seattle, WA

    1 2 3 4 OT T
    PHX 22 22 19 14 1592
    SEA 20 22 18 17 784

    Top Performers

    Phoenix: D. Taurasi 22 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Ast, 5 Stl, 1 Blk

    Seattle: T. Wright 24 Pts, 3 Reb, 5 Ast

    Taurasi overtime burst lifts Mercury over Storm

    Associated Press

    SEATTLE -- Diana Taurasi doesn't care who Phoenix plays in the WNBA playoffs. However, if it comes down to a deciding game, she made sure the Mercury will be at home.

    Taurasi scored five of her 22 points in overtime, and Phoenix went on to a 92-84 victory against the injury-depleted Seattle Storm on Thursday night, clinching home-court advantage for the entire WNBA postseason.

    Cappie Pondexter had 18 points and Le'Coe Willingham added 13 for Phoenix (23-10). The Mercury's win, coupled with Eastern Conference-leading Indiana's 86-79 loss at Chicago, helped guarantee them the overall top playoff seed.

    "It's as big a deal as you make it," said Taurasi, who scored 18 after halftime. "We're not worried about who we're playing, where we're playing, what time we're playing or what planet we're playing on. We're just concentrating on the people with our jerseys in this locker room."

    Tanisha Wright scored 24 point, and Shannon Johnson and Janell Burse had 15 each to lead the Storm (19-14), who were without All-Stars Lauren Jackson (back), Sue Bird (neck) and Swin Cash.

    The Mercury scored the first four points of overtime to take the lead for good after getting all they could handle from the Storm in regulation.

    "It's always like that -- you lose a couple players, and everyone else around steps up," Pondexter said. "But I'm glad it was a game like that. They gave us a run for it, and we withstood it."

    The Mercury were down 69-67 with 6:33 left after Wright's jumper from near the foul line. However, Phoenix scored the next six points -- on a tip-in by Tangela Smith, two free throws by Taurasi, and a layup by Smith -- for a 73-69 lead.

    Seattle tied the score at 75-all on two free throws by Camille Little with 1:25 left. Wright gave the Storm a two point lead on a 10-foot runner with 18 seconds left, but Pondexter tied it up on a short jumper from the right of the hoop with 6.9 seconds to play in regulation.

    Only the final result disappointed Storm coach Brian Agler, who earlier on Thursday was all smiles as the Storm announced that they had signed Bird to a multiyear contract extension.

    "We had a great effort, great focus, and we did what we had to do to put ourselves in position to win," Agler said. "We had absolutely nothing to play for other than pride. We had all sorts of reasons why we shouldn't do this or shouldn't do that. But we were a team tonight that instead of looking for reasons not to do things, we were looking for reasons to do things."

    Up just 44-42 at halftime, the Mercury went on a 12-4 run to start the third quarter and took their biggest lead of the night at 56-46. But Seattle scored four points in the final 5 seconds of the quarter to pull to 63-60 heading into the fourth.

    The overtime game was the sixth of the season for Seattle, which has gone 3-3 in extra periods, including a 101-90 loss at home to Phoenix on Aug. 4.

    "This is probably the toughest place to play in the league," Taurasi said. "[The Storm] did a lot of good things. We struggled in some aspects, but a win is a win at this point in the season. That's all you want. You can take care of the details tomorrow in practice or the next day."

    Taurasi also had eight rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Mercury.

    Burse and Little pulled down nine boards apiece for the Storm, and Wright handed out five assists.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

      Phoenix Seattle
    Points 92 84
    FG Made-Attempted 29-75 (.000) 30-71 (.000)
    3P Made-Attempted 8-27 (.296) 3-10 (.300)
    FT Made-Attempted 26-29 (.000) 21-28 (.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-37 13-45
    Assists 19 12
    Turnovers 16 20
    Steals 14 7
    Blocks 3 6
    Fast Break Points 11 8
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 20 (0/0)