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Dream down Mercury, take top spot in East

Atlanta, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - Shoni Schimmel deposited 24 points in a reserve role to help the Atlanta Dream rout the Phoenix Mercury, 96-82, on Wednesday to secure the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Tiffany Hayes added 19 points on an efficient 6-for-9 shooting for the Dream, who ended a five-game losing skid to wrap up the No. 1 seed in the East. Atlanta's previous win came on July 31 against the Shock.

Dream star Angel McCoughtry missed her second straight contest with tendinitis in her feet.

Phoenix, which wrapped up the league's best record and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs with a win Tuesday against New York, rested starters Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor for this one. Erin Phillips hit four 3-pointers en route to 21 points in a losing effort, while Shay Murphy scored nine and handed out a game-high seven assists.

The Mercury led 26-18 after the first quarter, but a dominant performance from the home team in the second put Atlanta in front for good.

Schimmel's triple at the 6:50 mark of the second gave the Dream their first lead since the opening minutes. Schimmel scored on a putback layup towards the end of the frame and a pair of free throws from Celine Dumerc 10 seconds before halftime gave the hosts a 55-41 lead.

The margin grew to 28 points in the third as Atlanta rolled to the victory.

08/13 21:33:02 ET