WNBA: Mitchell lights up the playoffs
Leilani Mitchell lit up the Mercury as they made their way past two do or die playoff games and into the semifinals against the reigning champion LA Sparks, while both Seattle and New York were unsuccessful in their elimination games.
Phoenix met Seattle in their first playoff game in a do or die elimination match. Phoenix closed out the win with six straight free throws to take the win at 79-69. Leilani Mitchell was clutch in this match, scoring the three pointer that put the game out of question for Seattle. Her stand out game saw her make 17 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. The Mercury’s stars in Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi dominated the game.
For Seattle, Sami Whitcomb was able to hit a three pointer with 2 rebounds and 1 assist. Most of the Storm’s work was left up to Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird and Jewell Lloyd.
Phoenix then went on to meet this season’s dark horse in the Connecticut Sun in another elimination match. Moving to an exceptional 11-0 record in elimination finals, Diana Taurasi led her beloved Mercury to close this one out at 88-83. Giving her all in this match again was Leilani Mitchell, as the point guard dominated with 11 points and 4 assists.
After building some real hype around their season and their Championship hopes this year, the New York Liberty let themselves down in an elimination final against Washington Mystics. Mystic’s guard Kristi Toliver was exceptional with 32 points, including a massive 9 three pointers. Aussie Rebecca Allen was able to use her skills to hit a three-pointer in this match, but it wasn’t enough to combat the dynamic Mystics team who they faced.
After winning their first two elimination finals, Phoenix found themselves up against the reigning WNBA Champions LA Sparks in a best of 5 series. The game was a slow burn, with over 45 fouls called in the match and Phoenix’s star Brittney Griner fouled out of the game in the third term. The Mercury weren’t able to stop the Sparks, as a 6-point third term from Phoenix allowed LA to take back the lead at a comfortable margin. The Sparks would go on to win 79-66.
Mitchell fiercely led the Mercury in this one, top scoring with 19 points including 5 three pointers to claim best on for Phoenix.
Game 2 saw the Mercury hang tough with the Sparks through the first three quarters. However a 25-17 final period saw LA run away with a 14 point victory. Sparks trio Candace Parker (24 points), Odyssey Sims (21 points) and Nneka Ogwumike (18 points) starred as they took a commanding 2-0 series lead. Again Mitchell was a shining light for the Mercury, adding 15 points and 6 rebounds in the loss.