Brittney Griner, Mercury subdue Storm

Seattle got pummeled inside by Brittney Griner and torched on the perimeter by Diana Taurasi during an 85-82 defeat that wasn’t decided until the final seconds.

Brittney Griner has dunked in games before — several times, in fact.

Still, whenever the Phoenix Mercury center slams one home, it’s a sight to behold.

And such was the case Friday night when Griner broke free in the middle of the lane and flushed a highlight over Storm forward Ramu Tokashiki that drew a few cheers from the crowd of 7,796 at KeyArena.

It was that type of game for Seattle, which got pummeled inside by Griner and torched on the perimeter by Diana Taurasi during an 85-82 defeat that wasn’t decided until the final seconds.

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Down three, the Storm had 12.6 seconds to force overtime when Taurasi poked the ball away from Jewell Loyd and forced a jump ball.

Seattle retained possession, but only 3.6 seconds remained.

Backup guard Sami Whitcomb threw an inbounds pass and ran to the wing — a few feet from Mercury coach Sandy Bordello — before receiving the ball and lofting a 27-foot three-pointer that would have tied the game as time expired.

“I knew it wasn’t going in,” said Whitcomb, the Storm’s three-point specialist who shoots a team-high 43.8 percent behind the arc. “It was great that we got a shot off, but it didn’t feel good to me.

“I just didn’t shoot it well enough. Just knowing that I had to get it off quickly, I just didn’t take the time. It just didn’t feel good.”

It was a costly loss for the Storm (6-6), which tumbled to a seventh-place tie in the WNBA standings.

Aside from a pair of wins against winless San Antonio, Seattle is slumping after a 4-1 start to the season. The Storm is 2-5 in its past seven games and has lost its past four by an average of four points.

“We’ve had a rough two to three weeks,” said Sue Bird, who finished with 14 points and eight assists. “These are games that we’re in. These are games that are within our reach and in a lot of scenarios, the things that we’re doing are within our control.

“I don’t feel that we are necessarily getting beat. I do feel like a lot of times we’re beating ourselves.”

Coach Jenny Boucek was content with the play the Storm had at the end, but she pinned the defeat on Seattle’s slow start. The Storm trailed 50-43 at halftime and fell behind by 11 (57-46) early in the third before closing fast at the end.

“I thought this game was about the first half,” Boucek said. “Just soft defensively. Not enough urgency. In the first half (we) give up 50 points and let a good team and good players get into a rhythm. And now you’re digging out of a hole and everything has to go right.”

Taurasi, who became the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer in her last outing on Sunday, led Phoenix early while scoring 19 of her game-high-tying 25 in the…

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