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WNBA: Time well spent

Lilley sees limited action in return to Los Angeles

Posted: June 8, 2010 10:37 p.m.
Updated: June 9, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Hart High graduate Taylor Lilley, center, dribbles during the first half as a member of the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Sparks at the Staples Center.

LOS ANGELES - It was quick, but she got in nonetheless.

Hart High graduate Taylor Lilley played two minutes on Tuesday in her first game as a WNBA player at the Staples Center as her Phoenix Mercury lost 92-91 to the Los Angeles Sparks.

Lilley entered the game with 3:55 left to play in the second quarter, with Phoenix trailing 39-35.

The 2006 Hart graduate pulled down a defensive rebound and didn't take any shots in her limited action.

"It was one of those moments," Lilley said of entering the game. "I remember going to Sparks games (when I was younger), playing on this court when I was younger."

Lilley said she was eager to shoot, but knew what to expect coming into the game.

"I understand my role," she said. "A lot of people came to support me, and they understand, too."

Diana Taurasi led the Mercury with 21 points.

The league's fourth-leading scorer keyed an 11-0 run with back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the third quarter that gave Phoenix its biggest lead of the game at 61-50.

But the Sparks came back and kept it close until a back-and-forth fourth quarter ultimately swung to Los Angeles.

With 18.3 seconds to play in the game, Sparks guard Noelle Quinn hit a 3-pointer in the corner, giving Los Angeles a 90-89 lead.

Phoenix then took it right back when guard Temeka Johnson snuck inside and made a layup with 8.8 seconds to go, giving the Mercury a 91-90 lead.

The Sparks then took the lead back for good, going inside to the league's leading scorer Candace Parker, who maneuvered to the basket for a layup and the 92-91 lead.

Parker led all scorers with 22 points.

Prior to the game, Phoenix general manager and basketball legend Ann Meyers Drysdale said Lilley has made the most of the breaks she has received so far.

"She's got a good attitude also," Meyers Drysdale said. "For any player, you have to know your role and be ready. You have to take advantage."

Lilley has played in three games this season. She made her debut on June 1 in a 92-82 loss to the Minnesota Lynx, playing 10 minutes and scoring three points, making one of her two 3-point attempts.

On Sunday, Lilley entered a blowout loss to Seattle with 6:04 to play in the fourth quarter. Twenty seconds later, she drilled a 3-pointer. She played the remainder of the game. In just six minutes, she co-led the Mercury in scoring with 12 points. She made 3-of-4 shots, two of which were 3-pointers, and was 4-for-4 from the free throw line.



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