PHOENIX - The Phoenix Mercury are WNBA champions for the second time in three seasons, leaning on their “big three’’ to pull out a 94-86 victory over the tenacious Indiana Fever in the deciding Game 5 last night.
Diana Taurasi, Cappie Pondexter, and Penny Taylor - the trio that led the team to its 2007 title - did it again in 2009.
League and finals MVP Taurasi scored 26 points, Pondexter had 24, and Taylor sank two crucial free throws with 37.7 seconds left as the Mercury held off a late rally to win the intense series, 3-2.
“This is what we do, we make big plays,’’ Taurasi said, holding a towel over her head in the champagne-drenched locker room. “We have people that step up and love to live the moment. It’s a great team.’’
Tammy Sutton-Brown scored 22 points, and Jessica Davenport had a career-high 18 for Indiana in its first finals appearance. Tamika Catchings added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Fever.
Indiana rallied from 10 down in the second half to tie it at 80 on Sutton-Brown’s layup with 4:29 to play, then Tangela Smith made two 3-pointers, her only field goals of the night, to put the Mercury ahead for good.