Taurasi Leads Mercury to Regular Season-Ending Win
PHOENIX (AP) -- Diana Taurasi scored 24 points to lead the Phoenix Mercury to their fifth straight win, an 87-73 victory Sunday over the Sacramento Monarchs in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Penny Taylor added 14 points and Cappie Pondexter 13 for Phoenix (23-11), which goes into the postseason as the top seed from the Western Conference after winning 11 of its last 12 games.
Rebekkah Brunson had 24 points and 13 rebounds for No. 3 seed Sacramento (19-15).
The Mercury open the postseason at No. 4 seed Seattle on Friday night. The Monarchs begin the playoffs at home against second-seeded San Antonio on Thursday night.
Both teams played their regulars most of the game Sunday until the fourth quarter. The Mercury went on a 15-2 run midway through the third quarter to open up a close game. Taurasi scored eight points and Taylor had seven during the run that gave Phoenix a 60-45 lead with 3:05 left in the period. Sacramento never got closer than 11 the rest of the way.
The Monarchs shot 23-for-82 (28 percent) and go into the playoffs 5-6 in their last 11 games. Sacramento has been in the playoffs five straight years. Phoenix's only loss since July 20 is a 111-101 decision at first-round playoff opponent Seattle.
The Mercury broke their season scoring record, averaging 89 points a game. Phoenix has led the league in scoring two years in a row. The only other club to do that was the WNBA champion Los Angeles Sparks in 2001-02.
Phoenix got out to a 29-19 lead early in the second quarter, but Sacramento ran off eight straight points and trailed 43-40 at the break.
Phoenix won all four meetings with Sacramento this season and has beaten the Monarchs six straight times.
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