The defending WNBA champions avoided elimination and are still in the hunt for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Coupled with the Sacramento Monarchs’ 78-71 win over Minnesota on Sunday night, the Mercury moved into sole possession of fifth place, two games behind fourth-place Sacramento. Houston and Minnesota are three games back with three to play.
Mistie Williams scored a career-high 17 points to lead the Comets, who have lost five in a row and are just 3-13 on the road.
LeCoe Willingham added 16 points and seven rebounds for Phoenix, which has won three straight.
Taurasi scored 22 points, making 15-of-15 from the free-throw line, in the first half. The 15 free throws set a WNBA record for most in a half, topping Houston’s Tina Thompson, who made 14 on June 11, 2007.
Taurasi tied Lauren Jackson’s WNBA mark for 30-point games in a career with 20. Jackson is sitting out the end of this WNBA season.
The Mercury went on a 18-6 run midway through the third quarter to open up a close game, capped by Pondexter’s three-point play with 1:45 left in the period that gave Phoenix a 72-61 lead. The Mercury led by at least 12 throughout the final quarter.