Leilani Mitchell to play in Europe, signs with Hatay
Fresh off a ground-breaking 2017 WNBL Championship with the Sydney Uni Flames and currently playing for the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA, Leilani Mitchell has signed to play the 2017-18 season with Turkish EuroLeague side Hatay.
Opal Leilani Mitchell has signed with Turkish side Hatay for the next European season. Same club that Nat Hurst played for.#AussieHoops
— Damian Arsenis (@DamianArsenis) June 8, 2017
With her commitment to Hatay, the 32-year-old will not be returning the WNBL next season and a chance to defend her title. She arrives at Hatay to essentially replace fellow Australian veteran guard Nat Hurst who is set to make her return to the WNBL with the University of Canberra Capitals next season.
Mitchell has been outstanding in the WNBL, WNBA and in playing for Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. She played a starring role for the Flames in their drive towards the 2017 WNBL title, posting averages of 16 points, 3.8 rebounds and a league-best 6 assists per game; also shooting an efficient 40% from beyond the arc. She would also be named finals MVP after a brilliant display in accounting for the Dandenong Rangers.
— FOX SPORTS News (@FOXSportsNews) March 17, 2017
Mitchell has managed to carry her red-hot form into the current WNBA season. After 8 games with the Mercury, 2017 is shaping up to be a career year for the diminutive yet feisty point guard. The Rio Olympian is posting a career best 12.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, while shooting an impressive 47.1% from three-point territory and has played a key role in helping Phoenix to a 5-3 record and fifth place in the standings.
BIG SHOT BY MITCHELL!! pic.twitter.com/hQ7fwzdw7s
— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) June 8, 2017
While Hurst was great for Hatay last season, in securing Mitchell they have upgraded. They will be looking to improve on their 2016-17 EuroLeague season in which they finished fifth in Group B, just missing out on the playoffs.