Storm beat Mercury 80-61 in WNBA playoff opener

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by Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on September 15, 2011 at 9:54 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 16 at 7:29 AM

 

 

 

SEATTLE -- Tanisha Wright scored 21 points, and Camille Little had 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead the defending WNBA champion Seattle Storm over the Phoenix Mercury 80-61 on Thursday night in the opener of the Western Conference semifinals.

Lauren Jackson added 13 points, six rebounds and three blocks for Seattle, which led 69-42 after three quarters. Swin Cash added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Diana Taurasi, who averaged 21.6 for Phoenix to lead the WNBA in scoring for the fourth straight year, had just 11 points. She shot 3 of 11 from the field, including 1 of 5 on 3-pointers. Penny Taylor scored 13, and DeWanna Bonner added 10 -- all in the first half -- to lead the Mercury.

Phoenix will host Game 2 of the best-of-three series on Saturday.

Little and Cash scored six points apiece as Seattle outscored Phoenix 29-11 in the third quarter. The Storm used a 14-0 run over the final three minutes to take a 69-42 lead at the end of the period.

Taurasi was 0 of 5 from the field as the Mercury shot 4 of 22 (18.2 percent) in the third quarter. Seattle shot 9 of 17 (52.9 percent).

Wright and Little both had 11 points, and Jackson added nine to help the Storm to a 40-31 halftime lead.

Wright netted seven points during a 17-7 run to close the first half after Phoenix led 24-23 early in the second quarter.

Bonner scored 10, including two 3-pointers, to help the Mercury tie it at 19 after one quarter.

Seattle was 9 of 9 on free throws in the first half. Phoenix was 1 of 2.

The game turned physical as Taurasi received a technical foul in the third quarter after kicking her leg at Wright after a foul by Wright. Little was given a technical in the second quarter after getting tangled with Taurasi away from the ball.

The Storm won the season series 3-1, including an 85-70 victory last week to earn the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

Mercury starting center Nakia Sanford missed the game because of a sore knee. She averages 4.2 points and rebounds per game.

Seattle has won 11 of 12 games against the Mercury, including a sweep in the West finals last year. The Storm improved to 16-2 at home this season.

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