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Copper, Griner guide Mercury over Storm


PHOENIX (AP) — Kahleah Copper had 30 points, Brittney Griner scored a season-high 28 and the Phoenix Mercury never trailed in an 87-78 victory over the Seattle Storm on Sunday.

Copper sank 11 of 20 shots from the floor with three 3-pointers, adding six rebounds for the Mercury (7-7). Griner, playing her fourth game of the season after returning from a toe fracture, made 10 of 15 shots with a 3-pointer and all seven of her free throws. She finished a rebound shy of a double-double for the third straight game.

Diana Taurasi pitched in with 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists for Phoenix.

Nneka Ogwumike totaled 15 points and 11 rebounds to pace the Storm (9-5), who lost for just the second time in their last 10 games. It was her third double-double this season. Ezi Magbegor, Jewell Loyd and Skylar Diggins-Smith all scored 14 with Magbegor grabbing eight rebounds and Diggins-Smith handing out eight assists. Jordan Horston contributed 12 points and five steals off the bench.

Copper had six points, Griner scored four and Phoenix jumped out to a 10-3 advantage in the first 2 1/2 minutes. Griner and Copper hit back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead to 20-9 with four minutes left in the quarter. Ogwumike had a layup, Sami Whitcomb sank a 3-pointer and Diggins-Smith buried a jumper as Seattle closed out the quarter on a 7-0 run to get within 25-19.

The Storm closed to within four, but Rebecca Allen hit a jumper and Diana Taurasi followed with a 3-pointer to put the Mercury up 32-23 with 6:39 left in the second period. Copper had 17 points by halftime, Griner scored 15 and Taurasi added nine as the trio combined for all but six of the Mercury's points, taking their largest lead to that point — 47-33 — into halftime.

Natasha Mack's layup gave Phoenix a 21-point lead in the third quarter before the Storm scored the final six points to trail 66-49.

Magbegor scored the final four points in an 8-1 spurt and the Storm cut their deficit to single digits at 73-64 with 4:53 left to play. Diggins-Smith made it a two-possession game when she buried a 3-pointer to make it 75-69 with 3:16 remaining. Griner answered with a three-point play and the Storm got no closer than seven from there.

Phoenix was coming off a 103-99 home loss to the Las Vegas Aces.

Seattle beat Phoenix at home 80-62 in the first matchup earlier this month.

Phoenix will host the New York Liberty on Tuesday. Seattle travels to play the Las Vegas Aces on Wednesday.