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Taurasi scores 34 points, Mercury beat Sparks 97-81 despite limited contribution from Griner

Diana Taurasi scored 34 points, DeWanna Bonner had 23 points and 12 rebounds, and the Phoenix Mercury pulled away in the second half for a 97-81 win over the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday night.

Coming off its first win of the season, Phoenix raced past the Sparks in the second half without forward Candice Dupree (suspension) or much help from rookie center Brittney Griner.

The Mercury played well without the two star players, using big runs in the third and fourth quarters to end a five-game losing streak to Los Angeles.

Charde Houston had 15 points and Griner finished with 10 points and four blocked shots in 15 minutes after missing the previous game with a sprained left knee.

Kristi Toliver scored 18 points, Candace Parker added 15 and Nneke Ogwumike had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Los Angeles, which played without Alana Beard because of a sore hamstring.