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Jun 29, 2024 12:30 am

Mercury extend Sparks’ road skid to seven in row

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Kahleah Copper scored 24 points, Brittney Griner had 18 points and 11 rebounds for her first double-double of the season, and the Phoenix Mercury extended the struggling Los Angeles Sparks’ woes thanks to a dominant second half in Friday’s 92-78 decision in Phoenix.

Phoenix (9-8) went on a 13-4 run midway through the third quarter, then another 8-0 run during a 3:34 fourth-quarter Los Angeles scoring drought. The two surges made the difference for the Mercury, winners for the sixth time in eight games.

Los Angeles (4-14), meanwhile, fell to its seventh consecutive loss in the finale of a seven-game road swing. The Sparks had a promising start and led much of the first half, taking a 45-44 advantage into halftime.

Dearica Hamby matched her career-high with 29 points. Aari McDonald was the only other Los Angeles scorer in double-figures until the final minute, finishing with a 12-point, 10-assist double-double.

Rickea Jackson added a few late baskets after the Mercury had pulled away and finished with 12 points.

Phoenix, meanwhile, had four scorers with at least 14 points including Diana Taurasi, who shot 7-of-11 from the floor, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range, en route to 20 points.

Natasha Cloud went for 14 points and dished a team-high seven assists. Rounding out the Mercury starting five, Rebecca Allen finished with four points, six rebounds, a game-high three steals and two assists.

Los Angeles shot 10-of-21 from 3-point range to Phoenix’s 7-of-21, led by Hamby’s 4-of-5. Kia Nurse, who scored nine points, and McDonald each shot 2-of-5 from beyond the arc, while Jackson went 2-of-3 from long range.

The Sparks went just 19-of-42 from inside the 3-point arc, while the Mercury shot 28-of-48 on 2-point field-goal attempts. Griner was 8-of-12 from the floor, all inside the arc, and dominated the offensive glass with six of her 11 rebounds coming on the offensive end.

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