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Brianna Turner, Brittney Griner lead Mercury past Aces for 2-1 series lead

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Brianna Turner scored 23 points, Brittney Griner added 18 points and 11 rebounds, and the Phoenix Mercury beat the Las Vegas Aces 87-60 on Sunday to take a 2-1 lead in the WNBA semifinals.

The Mercury got off to another fast start and never let up, winning a second straight rout as members of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns cheered from the front row of Arizona State’s Desert Financial Arena.

Phoenix held 2020 league MVP A’Ja Wilson to eight points on 2-of-14 shooting, and limited Las Vegas to 31% shooting to move within one win of its first WNBA Finals since winning the 2014 title.

Game 4 is Wednesday in downtown Phoenix.

Liz Cambage led the Aces with 13 points.

The Aces won the first game 96-90 at home, but Phoenix evened the series by scoring the most points in a regulation playoff game in the WNBA’s 25-year history.

Diana Taurasi was the catalyst of that 117-91 win, shaking off a nagging left ankle to score a playoff career-high 37 points.

The series shifted across the desert to the Valley of the Sun, though not to the Mercury’s home arena. The Footprint Center had previously booked Disney on Ice, so the Mercury were forced to play their first home game of the WNBA semifinals at Arizona State.

Phoenix got off to a fast start in Game 2 — a record 68 first-half points — and kicked off Game 3 with 11 straight points. Taurasi got it started with two early 3s and Turner took it from there, scoring 17 first-half points.

Phoenix wasn’t bad on defense, either, challenging nearly every shot, holding the Aces to 12-of-35 shooting to lead 46-31 at halftime.

The Mercury turned to Griner in the second half and she delivered, scoring on a series of shots inside to extend the lead to 68-44 late in the third quarter.

Wilson was hit with a technical foul for arguing a call and the Mercury kept up the pressure, cruising to another lopsided victory.

Game 4 is Wednesday at the Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix, part of a double-header with the Lakers vs. Suns NBA preseason game.