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Mercury edge Sparks 90-89

PHOENIX (AP) — Tangela Smith scored on a layup with 15.8 seconds left and the Phoenix Mercury held off two last-second chances by the Los Angeles Sparks for a 90-89 victory Friday night.

Candace Parker, who scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, missed a tip after Delisha Milton-Jones missed a driving layup with her left hand in the final seconds.

The Sparks lost 78-77 to Phoenix in the season opener on May 15.

DeWanna Bonner, who led the Mercury with 24 points and seven rebounds, picked up an offensive rebound off a Diana Taurasi miss and passed to Smith for the winning points.

Smith was fouled on the shot and missed the ensuing free throw, but Parker couldn<t secure the rebound, knocking it out of bounds.

However, the Mercury had trouble inbounding the ball and Taurasi dribbled off the sideline to give Los Angeles another possession.

Milton-Jones added 20 points and three steals for the Sparks, who fell to 1-5.

Taurasi, the WNBA's second-leading scorer at 22.6 points per game, sat out much of the third period and the first four minutes of the fourth with four fouls, but had 20 points.

Taurasi drove past Parker for a layup to give Phoenix an 88-81 lead with 4:07 left but Betty Lennox and Kristi Toliver each hit 3-pointers and Parker hit a hook shot to give the Sparks an 89-88 lead with 1:40 remaining.

Penny Taylor and Taurasi each missed 3-pointers on subsequent Mercury possessions until the Sparks were called for failing to cross the halfcourt line in eight seconds with 35.5 left.

Milton-Jones scored 15 first-half points to help Los Angeles build a 10-point lead but Bonner and Tameka Johnson each hit 3-pointers in the final minute of the half to cut the deficit to 43-40.

Ticha Penicheiro had 10 first-half assists before leaving with five minutes left in the second quarter after twisting her foot. She did not return.

The Sparks held the lead for much of the third after Taurasi picked up her fourth foul less than two minutes into the second half. But Taylor, Bonner and Smith — despite missing eight of her nine shots to that point — all hit 3s in the final 2:33 of the quarter to get Phoenix even at 69.

Taylor hit two free throws with 1.5 seconds left to lift the defending WNBA champions over the Sparks 78-77 in the league<s season opener.

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