10:00 PM ET, September 6, 2013
US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ
PHOENIX -- Brittney Griner had 12 of her 16 points in the second half and grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds to help the Phoenix Mercury beat San Antonio 83-80 on Friday night, clinching the last playoff berth in the Western Conference.
Candice Dupree had 18 points and eight rebounds for Phoenix (16-13), which reached the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons after missing the postseason a year ago and then selecting Griner with the first overall pick in this year's WNBA draft.
Phoenix, which improved to 6-2 under interim coach Russ Pennell, led by 18 in the second half before San Antonio got within two in the final minute. Diana Taurasi then made three of four free throws in the final 23 seconds to help secure the win.
Danielle Adams had 26 points, including nine in the final 3:34, and Jia Perkins added 14 for the Silver Stars (11-20), who have lost five of their past seven.
The Mercury lead fourth-place Seattle by 1 1/2 games and would face second-place Los Angeles in the first round.
Taurasi had 21 points and seven assists for Phoenix, which took advantage of San Antonio's poor shooting.
The Silver Stars made 37 percent from the field and were outrebounded 43-33.
Jayne Appel grabbed 17 rebounds for San Antonio before fouling out with 1:25 remaining.
The Mercury opened up an early 10-2 lead but San Antonio bounced back, sparked by Perkins' two 3-pointers to erase the lead.
But the Silver Stars shot only 35 percent from the field in the first half, and the Mercury took a 42-32 advantage at the break behind Dupree's 12 points.
The teams have split their four meetings this year.
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 6: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury blocks the shoot of Kayla Alexander #40 of...(Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
2013 Regular Season Series
Next 5 Games
With their win last night, the Mercury clinched the Western Conference's final playoff spot, the team's 1st playoff appearance since 2011. Of the 7 teams to use more than one head coach in a single season since 2009, 3 went on to make the playoffs. The 2013 Mercury, 2012 Dream and 2009 Shock are the only teams since 2009 to make the playoffs in a season where more than 1 head coach led the team.[+]
Teams With More Than 1 Head Coach - Single Season Since 2009
With their loss last night, the Silver Stars were eliminated from the playoffs. San Antonio entered this season with 6 straight playoff appearances.
ESPN Stats & Information