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Copper helps lead Mercury past Sparks

Phoenix Mercury Kahleah Copper - The Canadian Press

PHOENIX (AP) — Kahleah Copper scored 11 of her 24 points in the third quarter, Diana Taurasi had 20 points, five 3-pointers and six assists, and the Phoenix Mercury beat the Los Angeles Sparks 92-78 on Friday night.

Copper scored 10 points in the opening six minutes of the second half to help Phoenix build a 63-55 lead.

Sophie Cunningham made a wide open 3-pointer to begin Phoenix's 7-1 run that ended in a 72-62 lead at the end of the third. The Mercury opened the fourth on an 8-2 spurt to extend their lead to 80-64.

Natasha Cloud highlighted the fourth with a full-court pass to find Copper in stride for a layup and an 87-70 lead.

Brittney Griner had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Cloud added 14 points and seven assists for Phoenix (9-8).

Dearica Hamby tied a career high with 29 points for Los Angeles (4-14), which played the last of a seven-game road trip. Rickea Jackson added 14 points and Aari McDonald had 12 points and 10 assists.

Hamby made her first four 3-pointers to set a career high for makes in a game. She finished the half with 21 points, on 8-of-12 shooting, to help Los Angeles lead 45-44. Taurasi made four of her five 3-pointers in the first half and paced Phoenix with 16 points.