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Mercury blow lead, but still snap 3-game losing streak

PHOENIX (AP) -- Cappie Pondexter scored 27 points and the Phoenix Mercury held off the Los Angeles Sparks 99-92 on Thursday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

The Mercury (10-12) led by 10 going into the final quarter but Los Angeles (13-9) rallied to within 91-88 with 1:28 left.

Lisa Leslie and DeLisha Milton-Jones each missed short jumpers for the Sparks on a possession in the final minute. Diana Taurasi, who added 23 points for Phoenix, then sank four straight free throws to secure the win.

Milton-Jones, who averages 13.1 points, scored 19 of her 38 in the first quarter and topped her previous career-high of 26 points before halftime. She ended the night making 13-of-20 from the field, 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, and adding six rebounds and four assists.

Los Angeles has lost four straight on the road and six of its last nine games overall after a 10-3 start.

Phoenix won for just the second time in its last seven outings.

Sparks first-round pick Candace Parker, the leading scorer among rookies in the WNBA, scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, her 12th double-double of the season.

The Mercury scored the last eight points of the third quarter to take a 77-67 lead going into the final period.

Milton-Jones hit her first six shots, including four 3-pointers. She hit back-to-back 3s in helping the Sparks grab a 30-17 lead with 54 seconds left in the first quarter.

But the Sparks committed 23 turnovers, with Phoenix scoring 25 points off those miscues to stay in the game.

Pondexter and Taurasi, the top two scorers in the WNBA, were held to 12-of-39 shooting from the field.