WNBA Playoffs: Phoenix Mercury and Washington Mystics prevail in second round, advance to semifinals
Phoenix 88, Connecticut 83
The Phoenix Mercury took down the Connecticut Sun 88-83 after overcoming a 17-point second quarter deficit. The Mercury trailed the Sun 20-15 after the first quarter, led by Alyssa Thomas and the rebounding prowess of Jonquel Jones who pulled down seven rebounds in the first 10 minutes. However, on the strength of play by Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi, the Mercury recovered by outscoring the Sun 25-21 in the second period. Griner scored 11 points in the second quarter while Taurasi had nine.
At the half, the Sun’s lead was just seven, 50-43. Phoenix’s outscoring trend continued in the last two quarters as the visitors ate away at the deficit to make the contest a tie game in the last three minutes of the third quarter. The teams went into the last quarter tied at 66.
After a three-point shot by Leilani Mitchell at 3:35 in the fourth quarter, the Mercury took the lead and never looked back.
Griner finished with 26 points and nine rebounds while Taurasi scored 23 points and dished out four assists. Leilani Mitchell and Monique Currie scored 12 points each. Mitchell had five assists and Currie pulled down six rebounds. Yvonne Turner was also in double figures with 11 points plus four assists.
Alyssa Thomas paced Connecticut with 20 points plus 10 rebounds. Jones also had a double-double with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Jasmine Thomas added 15 points and Courtney Williams contributed 10. Before the game, Jones was awarded the league’s 2017 Most Improved Player award. Sun coach Curt Miller won the Coach of the Year honor and the inaugural WNBA Executive of the Year Award.
Phoenix takes on the defending champions the Los Angeles Sparks in the best-of-five semifinals that begin Tuesday, September 12.
Washington 82, New York 68
Kristi Toliver hit a WNBA record nine 3-pointers for Washington and scored 32 points in an 82-68 Mystics win over the New York Liberty. The Mystics fell behind in the first half. New York had a 29-15 lead early in the second quarter before Toliver began draining shots including several treys.
At the half, the Mystics trailed 41-35. However, Washington began the third quarter on an 18-3 run and led for the rest of the game. New York was eliminated in the second round of the WNBA Playoffs for the second year in a row.
In addition to Toliver, two other Mystics players finished in double figures. Elena Delle Donne scored 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Krystal Thomas added 11 points and six rebounds.
Tina Charles led New York with 18 points and six rebounds. Bria Hartley scored 15 points and dished out five assists. Epiphanny Prince contributed 12 points and five rebounds.
Washington faces the Minnesota Lynx in the semifinals on Tuesday.