Playoff series tied as Mercury beat Storm

Playoff series tied as Mercury beat Storm
Phoenix Mercury's Nakia Sanford (43) and Penny Taylor (13) close in on the Seattle's Katie Smith during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
PHOENIX (AP) — Candice Dupree scored 29 points and the Phoenix Mercury beat the Seattle Storm 92-83 on Saturday night to even their Western Conference playoff series at a game apiece.

Diana Taurasi added 26 points as the Mercury recorded their second win in their last 12 games against the Storm dating to 2009.

Game 3 is Monday in Seattle.

Sue Bird had 17 points and four assists for the defending champion Storm, who had won their last eight postseason games.

Phoenix led by as many as 15 but Seattle ran off 10 straight points to get within five with 4:10 left. But it couldn't complete the comeback.

Tanisha Wright sparked the late run with consecutive 3-pointers and a pair of free throws that trimmed the Mercury's lead to 81-76. She finished with 18 points and four rebounds despite being hampered by foul trouble for much of the night.

Phoenix got layups from Taurasi and Dupree on the next two possessions to extend the lead and secure the win.

The Mercury shot 55 percent from the field and outrebounded the Storm 37-24. Phoenix also outscored Seattle in the lane 58-12.

DeWanna Bonner added 13 points and 13 rebounds for Phoenix. Dupree was 12 of 14 from the field and grabbed seven boards.

Seattle missed five of its first six shots and Phoenix built a nine-point lead in the first quarter, despite Taurasi missing eight of her 10 shots in the period.

Katie Smith helped the Storm rally in the second quarter, making four straight 3-pointers to get Seattle within one with 4:24 to go. Smith finished with 14 points.

Phoenix then forced turnovers on successive possessions and got the ball inside to Dupree for six points in a quick burst late in the first half. The Mercury led 51-40 at the break.