Diana Taurasi scored 30 points to lead the Mercury over the Sparks on Thursday night in the opener of their best-of-three Western Conference semifinals series.
Candice Dupree added 16 points and DeWanna Bonner had 13 for Phoenix, which snapped the Sparks’ six-game home winning streak. Phoenix has dealt the Sparks two of their three losses in 18 games at Staples Center this season.
Newly crowned league MVP Candace Parker led the Sparks with 28 points, and Lindsey Harding added 16. Nneka Ogwumike had 14 rebounds.
Phoenix pulled away to the game’s first double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, helped by six consecutive points from Dupree. Brittney Griner’s basket for the Mercury made it 79-69 with less than 2 minutes left. Griner had 10 points.