Bridget Pettis had good reason to be excited about her latest performance for the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury.

Pettis scored a career-high 23 points to lead Phoenix to an 86-69 victory over the Washington Mystics on Sunday as the Mercury took sole possession of first place in the Western Conference.With just over five minutes remaining, Pettis made a dazzling move by switching the ball from one hand to another - behind her back - and splitting two defenders. Fouled on the shot, she pumped her fists and made both free throws to give Phoenix a 72-55 lead.

"I get excited off anything," she said. "I can shoot free throws, and I'm psyched. I'm always pumped."

Pettis scored 17 points in the second half.

"Bridget in the last two or three games has been very consistent," said Mercury coach Cheryl Miller. "We didn't have this luxury last season. She's a tremendous leader."

Marlies Askamp added 12 points for the Mercury (6-1), and Maria Stepanova had 11 points. Muriel Page led Washington (1-6) with 18 points, and Nikki McCray and Penny Moore each had 15.