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Dream, Mercury advance to WNBA conference finals

September 24, 2013

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brittney Griner hit a turnaround jumper with 4.9 seconds left to lift the Phoenix Mercury to a 78-77 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks in the deciding Game 3 of their WNBA first-round playoff series on Monday.

The Atlanta Dream also advanced to the next round of the playoffs, beating the Washington Mystics 80-72.

Phoenix advanced to the Western Conference finals against the Minnesota Lynx, while Atlanta will face the defending WNBA champion Indiana Fever in the Eastern Conference finals.

Candice Dupree scored 22 points, Dewanna Bonner added 19, and Diana Taurasi had 18 points and 10 assists for the Mercury.

Phoenix saw most of its seven-point lead evaporate in the third, when Griner picked up her fourth foul and sat the rest of the period. Both teams shot poorly in the fourth quarter, when they each went more than 2 minutes without scoring.

After WNBA Most Valuable Player Candace Parker gave the Sparks a one-point lead on a layup with 7 seconds to go, Griner responded with the winning basket for the Mercury.

Erika de Souza scored 10 of her 18 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Dream, which went on a 15-2 run early in the period to take control of the game.

Tiffany Hayes had 18 points and Armintie Herrington added 14 points for Atlanta.

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