Taylor wins Championship – and fight – for Phoenix

Taylor wins Championship – and fight – for Phoenix

In the fifth and deciding game of the toughest women’s basketball league in the world, an Australian has led her team to Championship glory. Victoria’s Penny Taylor led all scorers with 30 points as Phoenix Mercury outlasted Detroit Shock 108-92

In the fifth and deciding game of the toughest women’s basketball league in the world, an Australian has led her team to Championship glory.

Victoria’s Penny Taylor led all scorers with 30 points as Phoenix Mercury outlasted Detroit Shock 108-92 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan.

Taylor, who beat Lauren Jackson to the Most Valuable Player award at the 2006 FIBA World Championship for Women last September, received constant physical attention from Detroit forward Plenette Pierson.

Taylor copped a “cheap shot” elbow to the head from Pierson at the end of Game 3 and the fiery exchange continued throughout this contest as Taylor was repeatedly pushed, shoved and elbowed.

The referees awarded Taylor 18 foul shots and the World Champion Opal showed nerves of steel to complete all eighteen for a perfect night at the line.

Taylor was also granted sweet revenge in the final quarter when she floored Pierson with an inadvertent elbow to the eye while contesting a rebound.

Pierson was averaging 16.8 points and 5.8 rebounds throughout the series and was a red hot favourite for Finals MVP, but with the heart of a lion Taylor dominated Pierson for the duration.

When Pierson fouled out in the final quarter she had registered 4 points, 4 rebounds and 4 turnovers.

Rookie Mercury forward Cappie Pondexter posted 26 points, 10 assists and 3 rebounds in the victory and edged out Taylor for the Finals MVP award.

Pondexter averaged 22 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.2 steals over the five game series while Taylor averaged 18.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.8 steals.

Taylor’s World Championship Gold Medallist team mate Belinda Snell saw limited court time but did register 2 rebounds for Phoenix in 4 minutes and 17 seconds on court.

With the win, Phoenix became the first team to win a WNBA Championship on the road.

Phoenix took some steam out of the fired-up home crowd by racing to a 20-9 lead midway through the first quarter and after one period the Mercury was in front by thirteen points, 30-17.

Phoenix led by as many as 18 points in the second quarter and led 55-43 at halftime as the teams set a finals record for combined points in a half.The defending champion Shock, coached by former Detroit Piston bad-boy Bill Laimbeer, tried valiantly to bridge the gap in the third quarter but trailed by fifteen points with one quarter to play, 79-64.With 2 minutes 50 seconds remaining the Shock closed to within 11 points, 95-84, but could get no closer as the Mercury ran out victors by sixteen points.For a full box score head to http://www.wnba.com/games/20070916/PHODET/boxscore.htmlPHOENIX 108 – P Taylor 30, C Pondexter 26, D Taurasi 17 defDETROIT 92 – D Nolan 27, K Smith 18, S Johnson 13at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MichiganCrowd: 22,076Phoenix wins 2007 WNBA Championship 3-2