Mercury beat Sparks to clinch playoff spot



PHOENIX (AP) — Candice Dupree had 22 points and a franchise-record 19 rebounds to help the Phoenix Mercury clinch a playoff spot with a 93-77 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday night.

Diana Taurasi added 24 points for the Mercury (18-13), who remained a half-game behind second-place Seattle going into the final week of the season.

Candace Parker had a season-high 32 points for Los Angeles (13-18), which is on the brink of elimination from playoff contention. The Sparks, two games behind fourth-place San Antonio, host the Silver Stars on Tuesday.

Los Angeles, which trailed by eight after the third quarter, pulled to 80-75 with 4:34 remaining. However, Taurasi converted a pair of free throws and then hit a 3-pointer to help secure the win.