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Mercury rally to down Sparks

Aug 23, 2014 - 5:46 AM Phoenix, AZ ( - Diana Taurasi scored nine of her 34 points in the final quarter to rally the Phoenix Mercury to a 75-72 win over Los Angeles in the opener of their Western Conference semifinal series.

Candice Dupree and DeWanna Bonner each tallied 13 points for the Mercury, who won their 16th straight home game.

Candace Parker had 22 points and Kristi Toliver added 13 for the Sparks, who will try to stave off elimination when they host Game 2 Sunday evening.

The Mercury recorded their first-ever season series sweep against the Sparks in 2014, but were in danger of falling in the opener of this best-of-three series. Phoenix, though, rallied to beat the Sparks for a seventh straight time.

Phoenix won despite shooting 5-of-19 from the field in the final quarter, compared to 9-of-17 for the Sparks. The difference was the Mercury making all eight of their free throw attempts.

Brittney Griner, who was named the WNBA's top defensive player on Friday, had six points, seven rebounds and three blocks for the Mercury.

Parker sank a bank shot to cap a 9-0 run by the visitors for a 62-58 LA lead with 6:23 remaining.

A layup by Jantel Lavender had the visitors ahead 68-65 with under three minutes to go, but the Mercury scored the next six points. Penny Taylor drained a jumper, and a couple of LA turnovers resulted in the Sparks missing out on extending their lead.

Taurasi was bumped beyond the 3-point line and made two foul shots for a 69-68 lead with 40.8 seconds left. Parker then missed a jumper from the left baseline and Bonner sank two from the charity stripe.

Parker made a jumper to get the Sparks within 71-70 with 11.9 on the clock, but Taurasi made two more from the line, and a poor pass from Parker went out of bounds. That led to Bonner making two foul shots to seal the outcome.