Mercury fall to Sparks, still clinch playoff spot

BY foxsports • August 22, 2015

PHOENIX -- Candace Parker had 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Jantel Lavender added 15 points and 11 rebounds to help the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Phoenix Mercury 78-68 on Friday night for their third road victory.

Despite the loss, Phoenix clinched a playoff berth with San Antonio's loss. Phoenix will look to be the first team to repeat as WNBA champions since the Sparks in 2001 and 2002, and join the Houston Comets (1997-2000) as the only teams in WNBA history to win a total of four WNBA Championships.

The playoff berth is the 10th in team history and the Mercury's sixth postseason trip in the last seven seasons.

Los Angeles had a 14-point lead early in the fourth quarter before the Mercury went on a 10-2 run to cut it to 63-57. Phoenix got to 69-66 with 2:11 left, but Kristi Toliver made three free throws and, after a Mercury turnover, Parker made a fast-break layup for a 74-66 lead.

Kristi Toliver added 17 points for Los Angeles (9-17). Nneka Ogwumike missed her second straight game with concussion-like symptoms.

Brittney Griner scored 20 points, Candice Dupree added 15 and DeWanna Bonner 13 for Phoenix (15-11). The Mercury clinched a playoff spot after San Antonio's loss to Minnesota.

Before the game, Phoenix presented Los Angeles' Erin Phillips her 2014 WNBA championship ring. She signed with the Sparks during the offseason.

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