Mercury, with playoff berth assured, beat Storm behind Griner’s 29 points

SEATTLE — Brittney Griner had 29 points, eight rebounds and five blocks, and Leilani Mitchell hit two late 3-pointers to help the Phoenix Mercury hold off the Seattle Storm 75-71 on Sunday night.

Diana Taurasi scored 18 points, and Mitchell finished with 11 for Phoenix (16-16). The Mercury clinched a playoff berth earlier Sunday when the Chicago Sky lost to the New York Liberty, 92-62.

Mitchell hit a 3 to give Phoenix a two-point lead with 1:38 to play. Jewell Loyd answered with a layup but, after Griner and Loyd traded three-point plays, Mitchell made another 3 to make it 72-69 with 44 seconds left. Breanna Stewart hit two free throws to pull the Storm within one, and Taurasi hit a deep 3-pointer to cap the scoring with 15 seconds remaining.

Loyd scored a career-high 33 points, and Stewart added 13 points and nine rebounds for Seattle (14-18).

The Mercury were 5 of 6 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter.

The Mercury will be in the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season, which is a franchise record. They are currently in position to be the sixth seed, although they could be seeded anywhere from fifth through eighth. If they finish as the fifth or sixth seed, they will host a single-elimination playoff game at Wells Fargo Arena on Wednesday, Sept. 6, due to a scheduling conflict at Talking Stick Resort Arena. If they are seeded seventh or eighth, they would play on the road on Sept. 6.