With Diana Taurasi playing less than seven minutes in the first half, the Phoenix Mercury knew they would need others to step up and that’s exactly what they got.
“We had a real team effort tonight,” Head Coach Sandy Brondello said. “I thought Leilani Mitchell was fantastic. I thought Yvonne Turner’s defense on [Jewell] Lloyd was really good.”
Turner was perfect from the field in the first half scoring 10 points including two huge three-pointers as the Mercury took a one-point lead into halftime.
Mitchell went off in the second half to finish with a playoff-career-high of 17 points. A bullet-pass from Taurasi led to Mitchell knocking down the dagger in the final minute to put the game out of reach.
“When we need a loose ball or we need someone to make a play, other than BG or myself, Leilani seems to have great basketball karma,” Taurasi said. “She always seems to be open and she’s not afraid to take a big shot. That was huge for us at the end.”
Brittney Griner never left the court as she played all forty minutes and finished with a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. The All-Star center didn’t seem to have an issue going the distance.
“I mean, I’m young,” Griner laughed. “Give me some good sleep tonight and come back ready!”
The Mercury closed out the game 79-69 as they advance to the second round of the playoffs. They will tip-off against the Connecticut Sun on Sunday September 10.
“Happy that we survived another day and we’ll head to Connecticut and give it our best shot,” Brondello said.