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Taurasi scores 31 as Mercury stop two-game skid

PHOENIX (AP) -- Diana Taurasi scored 31 points to lead the Phoenix Mercury past the Seattle Storm 94-80 Friday, snapping a two-game losing streak.

Phoenix led by as much as 20 in the first half, but allowed Seattle to tie the game in the third before pulling away in the final 15 minutes.

Yolanda Griffith scored 15 of her team-high 17 points in the second half to lead Seattle, which lost for only the second time in 10 games.

LaToya Pringle added 14 points and six rebounds and Cappie Pondexter had 12 points for the last-place Mercury.

Tanisha Wright added 14 points and eight rebounds, and Camille Little had 13 points and seven rebounds for the Storm, who played without Sheryl Swoopes, hobbled by a hamstring injury. Seattle has split its four games since leading scorer Lauren Jackson (20.2 points a game) left to train with the Australian national team for the Beijing Olympics.

Coming into the game, Phoenix had lost seven of its last 10 to fall into last in the WNBA's Western Conference. With San Antonios losing to Minnesota earlier Friday, Seattle had an opportunity to move into first in the West, but remains a half-game back with a game to play before the monthlong Olympic break.

Phoenix, the best shooting team in the WNBA at 43.2 percent, made eight of its first nine shots and built a 20-point lead after going on a 13-1 run to take a 47-27 advantage with 2:01 remaining in the half.

But Seattle's 21-7 spurt to start the second half got the Storm even with 5:12 left in the third quarter. Phoenix led 47-33 at the break.

Phoenix made 10-of-10 from the free throw line in the final five minutes of the third quarter to take a 72-61 advantage into the final period.