Phoenix Mercury clinch playoff spot with win over Dream
ATLANTA — Brittney Griner scored 21 points and the Phoenix Mercury grabbed the final WNBA playoff spot with a 65-58 victory over the Atlanta Dream on Thursday night.
It’s the seventh consecutive postseason berth for Phoenix (15-15).
Griner, the only player in the league averaging over 20 points per game, finished 7 of 12 from the field and made 7 of 8 free throws. She had eight rebounds and four blocks.
The Dream got within three on Renee Montgomery’s 3-pointer with 21.1 seconds left, but two free throws each from Briann January and Griner sealed the win.
Atlanta (7-23), in the WNBA cellar, scored just six points in the first quarter before closing within one with 4:36 left in the third. But Griner scored six straight points late in the period for an eight-point edge.
The league’s all-time leading scorer, Diana Taurasi, played in her third straight game after missing all but one of the Mercury’s first 26 games after back surgery. Her shooting struggles continued, going scoreless on six attempts. She missed all seven shots in her previous game and is just 2 of 26 since returning.
Montgomery led Atlanta with 20 points.