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Taurasi guides Mercury past Sparks

May 19, 2014 - 3:36 AM Los Angeles, CA ( - Diana Taurasi tallied 23 points, including the go-ahead bucket with 32.7 seconds left to send the Phoenix Mercury to a 74-69 triumph over the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday at Staples Center.

Candace Parker knocked down two free throws to give the Sparks a 69-68 lead with 44.2 ticks to play, but Taurasi got a running jump shot to fall at the other end to put the Mercury back in front.

Alana Beard missed a jumper on LA's next touch and Taurasi hit two free throws to make it a three-point game with 24.3 seconds left. After Kristi Toliver came up empty on a 3-point try at the other end, DeWanna Bonner drained a pair at the charity stripe to account for the final margin.

Taurasi finished with 23 points, six rebounds and six assists, Bonner added 16 points and 11 boards, and Brittney Griner netted 13 points with 10 rebounds for the Mercury, who beat the Sparks in last year's Western Conference semifinals.

Parker poured in 23 points with 11 rebounds to lead Los Angeles, which won its season opener in Seattle on Friday.