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WNBA: Phoenix Mercury clinch playoff berth

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    WNBA: Phoenix Mercury clinch playoff berth

Photo: Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press

Seattle’s Sue Bird is set to break Tina Penichero’s mark of 2,599 WNBA assists.
Seattle’s Sue Bird is set to break Tina Penichero’s mark of 2,599 WNBA assists.

Photo: Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press

WNBA: Phoenix Mercury clinch playoff berth

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Brittney Griner had 29 points, eight rebounds and five blocks, and Leilani Mitchell hit two late three-pointers to help the Phoenix Mercury hold off the host Seattle Storm 75-71 on Sunday night.

Diana Taurasi scored 18 points, and Mitchell finished with 11 for Phoenix (16-16). The Mercury clinched a playoff berth earlier Sunday when the Chicago Sky lost to the New York Liberty.

Mitchell hit a three-pointer to give Phoenix a two-point lead with 1:38 to play. Jewell Loyd responded with a layup but, after Griner and Loyd traded three-point plays, Mitchell made another three to make it 72-69 with 44 seconds left. Breanna Stewart hit two free throws to pull the Storm within one, and Taurasi hit a deep three-pointer to cap the scoring with 15 seconds remaining.

Loyd scored 33 points, and Stewart added 13 points and nine rebounds for Seattle (14-18).

•In other games, Tina Charles scored 22 points and host New York cruised to a 92-62 win over Chicago, the Liberty’s eighth consecutive victory. The win clinched at least the fourth seed in the playoffs for New York (20-12), giving the team a first-round postseason bye. Stefanie Dolson scored 22 points to lead the Sky (12-19). … Candace Parker had 24 points and 10 rebounds and Chelsea Gray added 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals to help the host Los Angeles Sparks beat the Minnesota Lynx 78-67.

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