MVP Jackson leads Storm past Mercury in Game 1

MVP Jackson leads Storm past Mercury in Game 1
Seattle Storm's Lauren Jackson (15) is fouled by Phoenix Mercury's Tangela Smith during the first half of the opening game of the WNBA basketball Western Conference finals, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
SEATTLE (AP) - Lauren Jackson had 23 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Seattle Storm to an 82-74 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Thursday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

Jackson, who won her third WNBA MVP award before the game, set a team playoff record for rebounds.

Svetlana Abrosimova added 16 points for the Storm, Le'Coe Willingham had 10, and Sue Bird handed out 10 assists in Seattle's 19th straight home win.

Penny Taylor scored 16 points and Candice Dupree added 15 for the Mercury. Diana Taurasi, who averaged 22.6 points during the regular season, scored nine on 2-of-15 shooting.

Seattle held the Mercury 25 points below their postseason scoring average. Phoenix averaged 93.8 points during the regular season.

Jackson had her double-double in the books with 3:15 left in the first half when she grabbed her 10th rebound.

The Storm jumped out to a 22-7 lead in the first quarter, helped in part by the cold-shooting Mercury, who hit only one of their first 11 shots and went more than four minutes between their first and second baskets.

The Mercury pulled to 23-20 early in the second quarter with a 13-1 run capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from Temeka Johnson and Taurasi, but would get no closer.

Taurasi picked up her third foul with 7:05 left in the half, but sat out 2½ minutes before returning and playing the rest of the way until the break.

Seattle took a 47-33 lead into halftime.

The Mercury trailed 59-55 late in the third quarter, but the Storm stretched the lead back to 10 early in the fourth and Phoenix trailed by at least seven points the rest of the way.

Game 2 of the best-of-3 series is Sunday at Phoenix.