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Mercury’s Briann January gets 1,000th assist in loss to Sparks

Seattle Storm's Jordin Canada, right, defends Phoenix Mercury's Briann January in the second half of a WNBA basketball game Sunday, May 20, 2018, in Seattle. The Mercury won 87-82. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

LOS ANGELES — Phoenix Mercury guard Briann January recorded her 1,000th career assist on Sunday.

She became the 26th player in WNBA history to do so, joining fellow Mercury guard Diana Taurasi (1,792 assists, fourth overall) in the exclusive group.

January is the ASU women basketball all-time assist leader.

Despite her accomplishment Sunday, the Mercury fell 78-75 to the Los Angeles Sparks.

Sparks guard Chelsea Gray scored a season-high 24 points and forward Candace Parker had 14 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists to help the L.A. beat the Mercury 78-75 on Sunday.

Parker hit a free throw midway through the second quarter to become the 20th player in WNBA history to score 5,000 career points.

Her layup with four minutes left in the first half capped a 17-2 run and gave the Sparks a 17-point advantage and forward Nneka Ogwumike’s 3-pointer made it 45-30 early in the third quarter.

Diana Taurasi’s hit a 3-pointer in the third quarter to ignite a 10-2 run in the third quarter and pull the game within one.

With 1:21 remaining, the Mercury still hung close, trailing just 74-72, but Gray hit a jumper to put the Sparks just out of reach.

Center Brittney Griner led the Mercury with 22 points. Forward DeWanna Bonner added 20 points and nine rebounds.

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