Sunday, May 31st, 2020

Phoenix Mercury clobber Washington 91-68, Mystics without Delle Donne

Published on July 10, 2019


July 10, 2019 (Washington, D.C.). Phoenix Mercury at Washington Mystics. Photo: NBAE/Getty Images.

July 10, 2019 (Washington, D.C.). Phoenix Mercury at Washington Mystics. Photo: NBAE/Getty Images.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Phoenix Mercury (7-6) crashed the Washington Mystics’ (9-5) Camp Day earning a 91-68 win in front of 15,377 high-energy fans at Capital One Arena.

“We allowed them too many open shots, but it is an 11:30 a.m. game.” Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello said. “They’ve got so many capable shooters, so once we were locked in, we just made sure we were staying in place and staying in how we want to execute. I thought it was a great game for us. It was great for us to see some of the players let the ball go in the hole because we’ve been struggling in that area. We put up 91 points so that’s a good day for us.”

Washington was without star forward Elena Delle Donne, who suffered a nasal fracture July 7 during a game against the Los Angeles Sparks. Reserve forward Tianna Hawkins took her place in the starting lineup.

“She had terrific game,” Washington head coach Mike Thibault said. “Shame we wasted it. They just did a better job on her in the second half. We need other people to step up when that happens too.”

The team felt Delle Donne’s absence greatly on the defense side. Washington didn’t have an answer for both Phoenix center Brittney Griner and forward DeWanna Bonner. Phoenix’s duo outshined Washington’s lopsided defense to take total control early on. They earned 15 points apiece as the Mercury led 49-44 at halftime. Hawkins led all scorers with 18 points at the break.

The Mercury’s five-point halftime lead ballooned to 18, giving the Mystics a taste of their own medicine of a smothering defense. The fourth quarter halted any comeback schemes, as the visitors outscored the Mystics 21-10. Washington tallied just 24 points in the second half.

Mercury guard Yvonne Turner returned to the bench today after her EuroBasket stint with the Hungarian national team. She scored ten points in her return. Guard Briann January, Bonner and Griner combined for 65 points altogether to hand the Mystics their second straight loss. This is the first game where both Bonner and Griner scored over 20 points for a win. Griner finished with 25 points plus eight rebounds while Bonner tallied 22 plus seven rebounds and five assists. January added 18 points, five rebounds and six assists.

“She helps me so much,” Griner said of Bonner. “She demands so much attention out there that it opens up room for me to go score. We have to know when it’s time the right time, to know when to go and post up or let her do her thing. When we’re ready to play the game at the same time, we’re really unstoppable.”

Washington’s poor shooting added salt to the loss. The Mystics shot 55% overall from the floor and 6-of-22 (27.2%) from three-point range. The poor shooting exposed Washington’s need for Delle Donne and their need to find defensive rhythm again.

“Everything went wrong,” Thibault said. “Making mistakes on what we were supposed to do, slow rotations, playing with our hands down on shooters, giving up on drives.”

Hawkins’ performance was a bright spot in the loss. She led the Mystics with 24 points and seven rebounds. Being a spark off the bench is Hawkins’ niche, but her overall, 34-minute performance is notable. She rewrote her season high with 24 points and seven rebounds.

“We understand that we’ve reached some adversity in our season,” Hawkins said. “I think it’s something we just need to bounce back from, learn from mistakes and get back the team we were and compete.”

The Mercury stay on the road to face Connecticut Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Washington welcomes back EuroBasket participants Emma Meesseman and Kim Mestdagh and look for the two to participate in Saturday night’s game against the Las Vegas Aces at 10:30 p.m.


  • Points in the Paint: Mercury 38, Mystics 36
  • Second Chance Points: Mercury 15, Mystics 9
  • Fastbreak Points: Mercury 6, Mystics 2
  • Biggest Lead: Mercury 23, Mystics 8
  • Lead Changes: 3
  • Times Tied: 2
  • Attendance: 15,377

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