Mercury forces decisive game in WNBA Finals

Cappie Pondexter scored a game-high 26 points, including a driving bank shot with 21 seconds left, and the Phoenix Mercury defeated the Detroit Shock 77-76 on Thursday in Phoenix to force a deciding fifth game in the WNBA Finals. The finale is scheduled for Sunday in Detroit.

Plenette Pierson had 23 points off the bench for Detroit.

Diana Taurasi scored 20 points for the Mercury, which has not lost consecutive games since the two games before the All-Star break. Teammate Penny Taylor, an All-WNBA first-team forward, hit only 1 of 11 shots and scored six points.

Also: Tony Parker missed a game-tying free throw with seven seconds left, and Russia defeated France 75-71 in Madrid, Spain, to reach the semifinals of the European Basketball Championship for the first time in 10 years.

Spain advanced with an 83-55 victory over Germany. Unbeaten Lithuania will play Croatia today, with the winner meeting Russia. Defending champion Greece will face Slovenia.

Indianapolis prosecutors decided not to file marijuana possession charges against Indiana Pacers forward Shawne Williams after his arrest this week, but the team suspended him for three games for poor judgment. He was formally charged with a misdemeanor count of driving without a license.

The Dallas Mavericks and Devin Harris have agreed on a five-year contract extension worth about $42 million, locking up the point guard through the 2012-13 season. Harris, who would have been entering the final year of his rookie contract, averaged career highs of 10.2 points and 3.7 assists last season.

Center Melvin Ely signed a two-year free-agent contract with the New Orleans Hornets.


Another player arrested on Texas football team

Texas senior safety Tyrell Gatewood was suspended indefinitely after his arrest on drug charges, the fifth arrest of a Longhorns player since June.

Freshman defensive back Ben Wells, 18, who was riding with Gatewood when he was pulled over late Wednesday, was given a citation for possession of drug paraphernalia and released.

Gatewood, 22, was charged with two counts of possession of a dangerous drug. It was his second drug-related arrest in a year, though misdemeanor possession charges were dropped after his arrest in September 2006. He was suspended for a game.

Also: Nikolay Davydenko, the world’s fourth-ranked tennis player, is fighting a request by the ATP Tour for his telephone records as it investigates betting on one of his matches.

Frank Immenga, a lawyer for the 26-year-old Russian, said the tour used incorrect legal procedures in seeking the records and that a Swiss-based arbitrator, Peter Bratschi, has been appointed to hear the case.

Three UNLV players were included in the preseason FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings. Junior Elliot Wronski was ranked 27th for the men, and senior Elena Gantcheva (50th) and sophomore Kristina Nedeltcheva (121st) were ranked for the women. Gantcheva-Nedeltcheva were ranked fifth in doubles.

UNLV defeated 12th-ranked Brigham Young 30-20, 30-26, 30-23 in Mountain West Conference volleyball at Cox Pavilion, its first victory over the Cougars since 2002.

The Rebels (9-1, 1-0 MWC) have won eight straight matches, their longest winning streak in more than eight years. BYU fell to 6-3 and 0-1.

Maria Aladjova led UNLV with a match-high 18 kills and 10 digs, her eighth double-double of the year.

Lee Westwood shot a first-round 11-under-par 61 to take a four-stroke lead in the Mercedes-Benz Championship at Pulheim, Germany. The Englishman finished one shot short of Fredrik Jacobson’s course record of 60 set in 2003.

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