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Phoenix beats Lynx 82-80, takes control of race for West title


The Minnesota Lynx and the Phoenix Mercury -- the two best teams in the WNBA -- faced off Saturday night with their eyes on the Western Conference championship. The Mercury won the game 82-80 over the Lynx and virtually clinched the conference title at the same time.

Diana Taurasi hit a 20-footer with 2.9 seconds left and Brittney Griner blocked a last-second shot by Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen to seal the Phoenix win and end the Lynx’ 11-game winning streak, the Associated Press reports.

Phoenix (26-4) leads the Lynx by 2½ games, with only four games left in its regular season. Minnesota, at 24-7, has just three games left.

Maya Moore, who had 30 points for Minnesota, tied the game at 80 with 7.9 seconds left. Taurasi made her shot from the top of the key put Phoenix ahead. Whalen had one last chance to tie the game but her baseline drive was blocked by Griner and the game was over.

Taurasi, who signed a multiyear contract extension on Friday, had 24 for the Mercury. Griner had 19 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.

Seimone Augustus had 18 points and Lindsay Whalen 10 for the Lynx.

The Lynx had won 11 straight games and were 13 in their last 14 games, but the Mercury are just as hot. Phoenix is 20-1 in its past 21 games, and that one loss came at Minnesota on July 31.

Both teams have clinched a spot in the playoffs.

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