Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

WNBA: Mercury Burns Sun in Desert Night

Guru's Note: First the obligatory Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Link: Click Here.
Regular coverage: Keep Reading.

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA -- The magic of the internet's ability to provide live information, though not necessarily audio in this particular setting, gave us a treat late Friday night the way old-time radio broadcasts of baseball used to delight listeners of yesteryear.

We were about to leave the office for points culinary when we decided to give a glance on the computer as to what the result was out West where the struggling Connecticut Sun were playing the Phoenix Mercury.

Our screen came up just as regulation had ended with a 93-93 tie. We also noticed the the WNBA defending champion Detroit Shock once again showed an ability to surprise in the loss column as the New York Liberty slipped past Bill Laimbeer's bunch, 93-92, in overtime in Motown.

That put the idle Indiana Fever one game ahead in the Eastern Conference, which is becoming a two-team race for the conference crown.

All that made the action in Phoenix more compelling, because Connecticut really needed the win, and the Mercury were looking to stay right in the thick of the four-team scramble for Western Conference supremacy.

And so it was we waited anxiously for each automatic refresh of the screen to get updated on the neck-and-neck action. The first overtime quickly led to a second and we were already thinking of that key win Phoenix got at the time against Houston late last season when the Mercury fought to the final day before being eliminated from the playoffs.

Everytime Connecticut would seem about to get control, Diana Taurasi, Tangela Smith, or Cappie Pondexter would counter.

We apologize for not going into a little depth, here, but we are writing live into the blog format and if we reel back at the WNBA site, we will blow up everything you have just read.

Speaking of blowing up, we just heard someone yell in another part of the sports department that the local major league baseball team just managed to toss another one away, but we won't comment further less we incur the wrath of a certain rabid fan whose name also graces the list of contributors on the Guru's blog team.

Anyhow, back-and-forth the action went until former Rutgers star Cappie Pondexter hit a 14-foot shot with 2.1 seconds left to give Phoenix the win.

Pondexter, apparently healthy again, finished with 25, but that total was topped by teammate Penny Taylor's 30 points. It's the fourth straight game she has scored 25 or more points, a feat achieved by only three other players in the WNBA's 11-year history.

Smith and Taurasi each had 18 points.

Connecticut, which got 22 points each from former UConn stars Asjha Jones and Nykesha Sales, shot a franchise-record for three pointers with 16.

However, the Sun again stayed unusually charitable in turnovers, giving up 25 to the Mercury.

The win kept Phoenix within a game of Sacramento after the Monarchs beat Minnesota, 84-80. The Seattle Storm stayed a half-game behind Phoenix with a 71-55 win over the forlorn Houston Comets.

San Antonio, which was idle, is also a game behind Sacramento, though tied in the loss column with six.

Connecticut, meanwhile is three whole games behind third-place New York and trails the second-year Chicago Sky for the last playoff spot by 2 1/2 games.

Jump Shots: San Antonio coach Dan Hughes, who has been sidelined recovering from Achilles, surgery, expects to get an update on his status early in the week after results of medical tests are revealed. ... The finalists for the women's Pan American team are training in Washington this week in what is Dawn Staley's debut as a USA Basketball head coach in her own right. The Philly native who retired from the WNBA after last season and also coaches Temple in her native city is also an assistant to Olympic coach Anne Donovan of the Seattle Storm. ... The Guru won't confirm or deny a potential appearance at the Rebkell dinner at WNBA All-Star game festivities in Washington next weekend. However, more information might be coming on other boards from Guru team member Erin, who will now be on the scene due to a converge of events in the last 24 hours to make her appearance on press row a reality.

-- Mel


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