Phoenix gets even with Detroit

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Diana Taurasi rebounded from her poor performance in Game 1 of the WNBA finals by scoring 30 points to lead the Phoenix Mercury to a 98-70 victory over the Detroit Shock at Auburn Hills, Mich., evening the best-of-five series at a game apiece.

Taurasi played only 22 minutes before fouling out with 10 points in Wednesday’s 108-100 Detroit victory. But on Saturday the former NCAA player of the year at Connecticut stayed out of foul trouble and scored from all over the court, including seven three-point baskets.

Taurasi’s long three-pointer made it 76-44 with less than three minutes to play in the third quarter and capped a 15-2 Mercury run. She also had eight rebounds and three assists.

The guard’s inspired play helped offset the return of forward Cheryl Ford to Detroit’s lineup. The four-time All-Star, who sat out the first game because of a left knee injury, had five points and seven rebounds, but played less than half the game.


Game 3 is Tuesday night in Phoenix.

Cappie Pondexter and Tangela Smith had 18 points each for the Mercury.

Only two members of the Shock scored in double figures: Deanna Nolan with 12 and Swin Cash, who had 10.

Chicago Sky guard Armintie Price was named the WNBA rookie of the year, and the Sparks’ Sidney Spencer and Marta Fernandez became the first pair of players from the same team to be named to the league’s all-rookie team.


Price received 30 votes. Minnesota Lynx guard Lindsey Harding was second with 12 votes and Spencer, who averaged 9.6 points a game, had 10.

Price started all 34 games and finished third among first-year players in scoring (7.9 points a game) and assists (2.9 a game).

Dan Hughes of the San Antonio Silver Stars was honored as the league’s top coach.

Tony Parker scored 23 points to help France defeat Germany, 78-66, moving it closer to a berth in the quarterfinals of the European Championship at Madrid. Dirk Nowitzki led Germany with 28 points.


After Germany cut the deficit to 47-45 with 8:13 left in the third quarter, France took control with a 15-4 run. Nowitzki was held to four baskets in the second half.

Nowitzki made a three-point basket at the buzzer to narrow the deficit at halftime to 47-39. He had 19 points at the half and Parker led France with 11.

In another Group F game, unbeaten Lithuania clinched a spot in the quarterfinals with a 79-74 victory over Italy.

Rimantas Kaukenas led Lithuania with 22 points and Andrea Bargnani had 15 for Italy. Lithuania also controlled the boards, outrebounding Italy, 44-29.



Smith questionable for Eagles’ opener

Tight end L.J. Smith was downgraded to questionable for Philadelphia’s season opener at Green Bay following the team’s walkthrough Saturday.

Smith had been bothered by a groin injury that forced him to sit out all the exhibition games and kept him off the field most of training camp. He practiced this week and had been listed as probable for today’s game.


If Smith can’t play, veteran Matt Schobel and rookie Brent Celek would fill in. Celek, a fifth-round pick, led the Eagles with 13 receptions for 143 yards in the preseason. Schobel had five catches for 103 yards.


England beats U.S., 28-10, in World Cup

Olly Barkley scored 18 points to lead England to a 28-10 victory over the United States at Lens, France, in a Group A match at the Rugby World Cup.


After scoring two first-half tries, a lackluster England could add only one more after the interval to tie the second half 7-7.

It was the Americans who came closest to scoring the first try, when captain Mike Hercus grabbed an interception in the 14th minute but could not outrun the England defense in a sprint for the line.