| Sports |

Phoenix Mercury Fall to Indiana Fever 93-84 in Disappointing Game Two of WNBA Finals

After a high-paced, high-scoring, record-breaking game one, Valley sports fans turned out at US Airways Center last night for a big disappointment in game two of the WNBA finals.

To say the Phoenix Mercury, 2007 WNBA Champions and home to star shooters like league MVP Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter, were off would be an understatement. The team shot a ghastly 39.7 percent from the field, and it wasn't because their opponents, the Indiana Fever, were playing such fantastic defense.

Granted, the Fever defense is solid -- among the top five in the league -- but it didn't matter Tuesday, when the Mercury scored a record 120 points to take game one from the Fever, who also scored a record 116. The Mercury were hitting so many shots that the Fever were forced to play more offensively, which they did quite well. Just not as well as the Merc.

Last night, neither team was particularly stellar on defense, but the Fever made more shots. The Mercury couldn't win the game shooting less than 40 percent from the field. They certainly won't win the championship that way. Thankfully, this was only the second game in a five-game series.

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The Mercury came out blazing for the first few minutes of the first quarter, despite the Fever's Katie Douglas drawing first blood with a three-point shot. Douglas' basket was answered by a basket from Mercury forward/center Nicole Ohlde, with an assist from guard Cappie Pondexter. Taurasi then stole the ball after a Fever rebound and passed it to Temeka Johnson, who sunk a three. A back-and-forth score-fest between the Merc and Fever ensued, with the Mercury finding themselves behind 24-31 at the end of the quarter.

After the second quarter, anyone new to women's basketball might not have recognized the Mercury's two star shooters, Taurasi and Pondexter. Taurasi went 2 for 9 in the field-goal department and 1 for 4 in three-point attempts by halftime, and she uncharacteristically got colder as the night wore on (she would ultimately end the game making only 9 of 32 shots). But thanks largely to Penny Taylor's 14 points, the Mercury were only trailing the Fever 45-48 at the end of the first half.

But the Merc continued their downward trend in the third quarter, missing shots left and right. Taurasi and Pondexter never seemed to find their rhythm or their shots, as Pondexter went 2 for 9 and Taurasi went 4 of 16 for field goals. Tangela Smith scored 10 points, but the loss of Penny Taylor, who scored 23 points in game one and went down with a "lip laceration" three-plus minutes into the third quarter, hit the Mercury hard. The quarter ended with the Mercury trailing yet again, 63-77. 

The Mercury attempted a comeback late in the fourth, with Pondexter nailing a three to shrink the Fever lead to nine. But the Mercury could never really gain momentum. The Fever took game two, 93-84.

In the end, Taurasi scored 20 points for the Mercury, near her usual range. Temeka Johnson and Penny Taylor each scored 14, with Pondexter and Tangela Smith both scoring 12. On the Fever end, Tamika Catchings was the high scorer, with 19 points. Ebony Hoffman and former ASU player Briann January each scored 16.

Sunday's game three will be broadcast on ESPN2 from Indianapolis at 1 p.m.

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