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PHOENIX — Tameka Johnson had 23 points and three assists to lead the Seattle Storm past the Phoenix Mercury 81-73 on Friday night.

Tina Thompson added 18 points and seven rebounds for Seattle (13-13), which has won all four meetings with Phoenix (14-13) this season and has won four of the past five overall.

Candice Dupree had 17 points while Diana Taurasi added 16 points and seven assists for the Mercury, who lost for just the second time in six games under interim head coach Russ Pennell.

No. 1 draft pick Brittney Griner had 12 points and five rebounds for the Mercury.

With the win, the Storm moved within a half-game of Phoenix for third in the Western Conference with eight games to play.

The Storm had a double-digit lead throughout the final period after taking a 63-53 advantage going into the fourth until the final two minutes.

Camille Little added 17 points and five rebounds for Seattle, which took advantage of 15 Phoenix turnovers, scoring 19 points off the mistakes.

DeWanna Bonner had 20 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Mercury.

Johnson, the shortest player on the court at 5-foot-3, scored 16 first-half points to help Seattle take a 44-34 lead at the break.

Sparked by back-to-back baskets by Thompson, the Storm went on a 12-1 run to open the second quarter and grab a 33-22 advantage.

Johnson did her work in just 23 minutes, going out briefly with 2:47 left in the third after getting hit in the face on a play. She did not play in the fourth.

Phoenix had started the game by making eight of its first nine shots, but committed five turnovers in the opening period, leaving the game tied at 21 after 10 minutes.

It was Seattle's first season sweep of Phoenix since 2010.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Associated Press,

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