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Mercury cling to playoff position with win over Wings

Diamond DeShields scored 24 points as the host Phoenix Mercury boosted their playoff hopes with an 86-74 victory over the Dallas Wings on Friday night.

It was the sixth time this year that DeShields scored at least 20 points.

Phoenix, which trailed by 10 points late in the second quarter, also got a big performance from Shey Peddy, who scored 18 points. added a game-high eight assists and tallied five rebounds. Sophie Cunningham chipped in 16 points and Jennie Simms 14 for Phoenix.

Dallas (17-18) has already clinched a playoff berth.

The top eight teams make the playoffs and Phoenix and the New York Liberty are each 15-20 and tied for seventh place and Minnesota and Atlanta are just one game back.

The league is off on Saturday before closing the regular season on Sunday. Minnesota plays at Connecticut; New York hosts Atlanta; and Phoenix welcomes Chicago.

Kayla Thornton led the Wings with 14 points, but she was scoreless after halftime.

Dallas’ Marina Mabrey, who totaled 50 points in her previous two games, was held to 10 on Friday. Mabrey made 4 of 12 shots, including 2 of 5 from 3-point range, and scored just two points after the first quarter.

Early on, there were six lead changes in a first quarter that ended with Dallas on top 23-20. Dallas shot 58.8 percent in a blistering first quarter, including 3-for-6 on 3-pointers. Phoenix shot 52.9 percent, including 2-for-4 on 3-pointers.

The Wings stretched their lead to 10 points in the second quarter before settling for a 43-39 advantage at halftime.

Thornton led all first-half scorers with 14 points, making all six of her shots. Dallas shot 56.3 percent for the first half, including 7-for-13 on 3-pointers.

Cunningham led Phoenix with 11 points, including 3-of-4 on 3-pointers. The Mercury shot 47.2 percent for the first half, including 5-for-12 on 3-pointers.

Phoenix started the third quarter on an 8-0 run, which changed momentum. The Mercury ended the period on top 67-57.

The Mercury cruised in the fourth, shooting 51.5 percent from the floor for the game, including 11-for-22 on 3-pointers.

Dallas shot 45.2 percent, including 9-for-21 from deep.

–Field Level Media

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