Phoenix, AZ, United States (4E Sports) – The Phoenix Mercury trounced the San Antonio Silver Stars 83-80 Friday at the US Airways Center to clinch the last playoff berth in the Western Conference.
Brittney Griner scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Candice Dupree added 18 points and eight rebounds and Diana Taurasi top scored with 21 points while dishing out seven assists for the Mercury.
The Mercury opened up an early 10-2 lead but San Antonio retaliated with a 12-2 blast capped by Perkins’ 23-foot 3-pointer to steal the lead in no time.
But the Stars would be limited to two points in the next four minutes and 35 seconds as the Mercury scored 13 to take a 25-16 lead.
The Mercury lead 42-32 advantage at the half, which swelled to 67-50 lead with 59 seconds left in the third.
They posted their biggest lead early in the fourth at 73-55 before the Stars erupted with an 11-0 blast, including two 3-pointers from Shenise Johnson, to make it 73-66.
The Stars kept up the pressure getting nine points from Danille Adams in the final 3:34 to get within two points at 80-78 with 24 seconds left.
Diana Taurasi then made three of four free throws in the final 23 seconds to help secure the win.
Adams finished with 26 points and Jia Perkins added 14 for the Silver Stars (11-20), who had a poor shooting night making 37 percent from the field and were outrebounded 43-33, despite getting 17 rebounds from Jayne Appel.
The Mercury lead fourth-place Seattle by 1 1/2 games and would face second-place Los Angeles in the first round.