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11 blocks by Griner, new playoff record; Mercury make history

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Brittney Griner leads historic night as the Phoenix Mercury set the record for largest margin of victory in a WNBA playoff game. The Mercury take a commanding lead in the Western Conference Semi-finals over the Tulsa Shock in Game 1.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury left nothing to chance tonight, as the first playoff game of the West Semi-finals ended with the Mercury dominating the floor, and setting the record for largest margin of victory in WNBA playoffs history after beating the Tulsa Shock 88-55.

The Mercury came out with a vengeance, holding a seven-point lead after the first quarter, leading 22-15. They went on a 14-6 run with Griner leading the way with eight points and four blocks in those ten minutes.

The Mercury kept that momentum starting in the second quarter with an eight-point run, which turned into an astounding 30-point lead going into the half. This run continued throughout the second half, with the Shock unable to gain momentum after such a strong performance by the Mercury.

The Shock have been through it all this season, from losing players to injury like Skylar Diggins, Glory Johnson's suspension and then her pregnancy which forced her to sit out the rest of the season, and not to mention the announcement of the team and program being moved out of Tulsa to the Dallas area next season.

"I just thought we didn't finish shots; I thought we went to the basket, went in very hard, and came out empty," Head Coach of the Tulsa Shock Fred Williams said. "A lot of times when you go in there and you don't get certain things and you want to get in that paint, you kind of get discouraged and start taking a lot of quick shots and jumpers."

After a wake-up call talk in the locker room, the Shock came out in the third quarter with a 12 point run, with Phoenix missing seven straight shots and going scoreless for half of that quarter.

Although, Brittney Griner kept their momentum up as she tied her own block record for blocks in a game in the WNBA with 11. She proved why she was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year tonight, while also showing why she was an All-WNBA First Team member with a huge offensive game, with 18 points and shooting above 80 percent from the charity stripe.

"What can you say? To come out and dominate like she did tonight - that's amazing," Phoenix Mercury Head Coach Sandy Brondello said regarding Griner. "That is how important she is to this team."

DeWanna Bonner and Leilani Mitchell also had huge nights for the Mercury, as they scored 15 and 12 points, while Bonner also pulled down six rebounds and Mitchell had six assists.

Mitchell spoke on her assists, saying "When you have BG [Brittney Griner] it is easy to throw it in there and she finishes off the plays. Today, everyone played to their strengths and did their job and we need to keep that up throughout the playoffs."

Former teammate of Griner, Odyssey Sims, led the Shock with 18 points in her WNBA playoff debut as Griner and Sims had several back-to-back plays against each other. Jordan Hooper also contributed for the Shock as she chipped in 14 points and grabbed six rebounds, but the force that Mercury brought was overwhelming for the Shock.

Odyssey Sims spoke about the game and Griner as well, saying "She's [Griner] going to block shots but she's also going to foul which happened to her many times. We just have to regroup and be ready for the quick turnaround Saturday."

Their next meeting will be Saturday, September 19, at 6 pm in Tulsa.