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Britney Griner’s double-double helps Mercury past Storm 79-69

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (42) points to a teammate after scoring during the first half of a first-round WNBA playoff basketball game against the Seattle Storm, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (Matt York / Associated Press)
Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (42) points to a teammate after scoring during the first half of a first-round WNBA playoff basketball game against the Seattle Storm, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (Matt York / Associated Press)
Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. – Britney Griner had 23 points and 11 rebounds to help the Phoenix Mercury advance to the second round of the playoffs with a 79-69 victory over the Seattle Storm on Wednesday night.

Phoenix will play at No. 4 Connecticut on Sunday.

Late in the fourth quarter, Diana Taurasi dribbled down the clock and found Leilani Mitchell for a corner 3-pointer on a cross-court pass for a 73-65 lead. Seattle’s Sue Bird answered with a long 3-pointer but Phoenix closed the game by making six straight free throws.

Taurasi only played seven minutes in the first half after picking up three fouls, but she finished with 14 points for Phoenix. In the second half, she became the second WNBA player to reach 1,000 career playoff points, joining Tamika Catchings.

Breanna Stewart led Seattle with 23 points and eight rebounds. Jewell Loyd was 0 for 7 from the field in the first half and finished with 17 points.

Loyd made her first field goal of the game with 42 seconds left in the third quarter and hit a 3-pointer on the next possession to pull the Storm to 53-46. But Mitchell beat the third-quarter buzzer to extend Phoenix’s lead to 10 points. She had 17 points in the game.

Arizona Cardinal stars Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson and David Johnson were in attendance at Arizona State’s Wells Fargo Arena. The Mercury’s regular home court at the Talking Stick Resort Arena was not available due to a scheduling conflict.

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