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WNBA: Mercury top Fever for ninth consecutive win

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Brittney Griner scored 21 points and set up the game-clinching basket Monday night as the Phoenix Mercury held off the Indiana Fever 86-81 in Indianapolis to secure their ninth consecutive win.

Indiana (6-21) trailed 60-42 just past the midway point of the third quarter before rallying. The Fever had a chance to tie the game with 24.8 seconds left, but Kelsey Mitchell missed a 3-point attempt.

After a 20-second timeout, Griner found Brianna Turner for a layup that helped Phoenix improve to 18-10.

Kia Nurse added 19 points for the Mercury, while Diana Taurasi hit for 11. Griner contributed team highs in rebounds (10) and assists (five). Phoenix canned 52.3 percent of its field-goal attempts and committed only eight turnovers in a well-played game.

Five players scored in double figures for the Fever, led by Kelsey Mitchell’s game-high 23 points. Lindsay Allen added 15 points and seven assists, while Teaira McCowan and Victoria Vivians each scored 13 points. Tiffany Mitchell chipped in 11.

McCowan hauled in a game-high 15 rebounds for the Fever, helping them earn a 31-30 advantage on the boards. Indiana committed just six turnovers but made just 43.1 percent of its field-goal tries.

Indiana trailed 77-60 with 6:11 left but stormed back with a 15-2 run that Kelsey Mitchell capped with a 3-pointer to make it a four-point game with 3:02 remaining.

As was the case in Phoenix’s 87-65 win Saturday in Indianapolis, the Fever jumped on top early. Indiana established an 11-2 lead less than four minutes into the game, and the Fever took a 22-18 edge into the second quarter.

The Fever held on to the lead until midway through the second period and stayed competitive through the half’s remainder. Griner’s layup with 16.7 seconds left in the half allowed the Mercury to take a 43-42 advantage to the locker room.

Phoenix clamped down defensively to start the third quarter, ripping off 17 consecutive points and not allowing Indiana to score for nearly 6 1/2 minutes. The Mercury entered the fourth quarter with a 67-52 cushion, thanks largely to the Fever going 4 of 18 from the field.

The Fever lost for the sixth time in their past eight games.

–Field Level Media

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