INDIANAPOLIS — Cappie Pondexter scored 22 points and the Phoenix Mercury beat the Indiana Fever 90-77 in Game 4 of the WNBA finals on Wednesday night to avoid elimination.
Penny Taylor added 17 points for the Mercury while Diana Taurasi and Tangela Smith each scored 16 to even the series 2-2 and force Game 5 Friday in Phoenix.
Tamika Catchings led Indiana with 24 points and 12 rebounds and Ebony Hoffman added 17 points. All-Star Katie Douglas, who was hoping to celebrate a clinching win in her hometown, scored seven points on 2-for-14 shooting.
The Fever had the homecourt, an active sellout crowd and local celebrities such as Indianapolis Colts players Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne in attendance. It wasn’t enough.
Phoenix shot 72 percent from the field in the first quarter to jump out to a 33-22 lead. The Fever held the Mercury to 16 points in the second quarter and cut their deficit to 49-47 at the half.
Indiana tied the score at 59 on a layup by Catchings with 4:30 left in the third quarter, but Phoenix went on a quick 6-0 run to force a timeout and put the fans, who had been standing in anticipation of a Fever lead, back in their seats. The Mercury extended their lead to 72-65 at the end of the third quarter.
Indiana trimmed its deficit to 72-68 on a steal and layup by Catchings, but the Fever went cold and the Mercury pulled away with a 12-2 spurt. A 3-pointer by Taylor made it 84-70 with 2:33 to go.
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