Penny Taylor scored 13 of her season-high 30 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Mercury to a 90-85 victory over the Houston Comets yesterday in Phoenix.
Phoenix (8-7) was without the injured Cappie Pondexter and the suspended Diana Taurasi, who combine to average 37.3 points per game.
Belinda Snell scored 17 points, shooting 5 for 13 on 3-pointers, and grabbed seven rebounds for Phoenix. Tangela Smith added 16 points.
"After a few losses we needed to get a win more than anyone realizes," said Taylor, who also had nine rebounds. "Now we have a little bit of a break where we can work on the things that we need to but we had to get that win going into this break because we play Houston again next game."
Crystal Smith had 16 of her 18 points in the first half for Houston (2-11), which had won two straight. Hamchetou Maiga-Ba added 16 points and six rebounds.
The Mercury were 27 for 31 on free throws and held Tina Thompson to 10 points -- 9 below her average.
Phoenix trailed, 70-62, heading into the final quarter after getting outscored, 26-9, in the third. However, the Mercury scored the first 15 points of the fourth to take the lead for good.
"We started off slow," Comets coach Karleen Thompson said. "We tried to pick it up in the third quarter, but when you get a team full of shooters like that and they get warmed up it is hard to stop them."
Taurasi, fourth in the league in scoring at 19.5 points per game, sat out the first game of a two-game suspension handed down by the WNBA for inappropriate conduct toward officials at the end of the Mercury's 87-84 loss to Detroit Friday night. Pondexter, who averages 17.8 points, sat out her third straight game with a strained left groin.
Storm 85, Sparks 71 -- Lauren Jackson tied a career high with 35 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead visiting Seattle past Los Angeles.
Betty Lennox added 12 points and season highs of nine rebounds and six assists for the Storm (6-6), who snapped a two-game losing streak. Janell Burse also had 12 points.
Sherill Baker, who was acquired from New York Wednesday, and Sidney Spencer scored 15 points apiece for the Sparks (6-6), who have lost four of five.
Fever 74, Liberty 63 -- Tamika Catchings scored 18 points and Tamika Whitmore had 15 to lead visiting Indiana past struggling New York.
Tammy Sutton-Brown added 11 points and Anna DeForge had 10 to help the Fever (10-3) pull to within a half-game of first-place Detroit in the Eastern Conference.
Loree Moore scored 17 points for New York (7-6). The Liberty lost for the sixth time in eight games after a franchise-best 5-0 start.