The second round of the WNBA Playoffs is now complete! Here’s what went down on Thursday.
Mystics blow out Sparks 96-64, continue new era of WNBA dominance
The Mystics advanced in the playoffs and made semifinals appearances in back-to-back seasons for the first time in franchise history.
In summary, the Mystics laid the smackdown on the Sparks in the first quarter and never let go after that. Washington just wanted this game more and won their ninth game out of their last ten contests, including the regular season.
Elena Delle Donne led the charge with 19 points and 12 rebounds while every starter scored in double figures. Among the rest of the starters, Ariel Atkins scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting including two threes.
For the Sparks, Candace Parker scored 16 points while the rest of their team couldn’t do much.
The Mystics didn’t just make the semifinals. They also ended the Lynx-Sparks era of domination in the 2016 and 2017 seasons when both teams made the Finals. The Mystics also guaranteed that the Eastern Conference will be represented in this year’s WNBA Finals, which hasn’t happened since the 2015 season. That’s because the Mystics will play the Dream in their semifinals series.
Mercury beat Sun 96-86 after late run, keep “winner take all” streak alive
Diana Taurasi came into tonight’s game with a 12-0 record in “win or go home” playoff games.
Diana Taurasi is 12-0 in winner-take-all WNBA playoff games.— SB Nation (@SBNation) August 24, 2018
Will she make it 13-0 tonight? https://t.co/R989F11MpK
13 may seem like a bad number to many, but Taurasi is now 13-0 in “win or go home” playoff games after the Phoenix Mercury’s 96-86 win over the Phoenix Mercury.
Taurasi scored 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting including going 5-of-10 from the three-point line. Brittney Griner added another 27 points while DeWanna Bonner scored 23 points and grabbed 18 rebounds. For the Sun, Courtney Williams scored 27 points while Alyssa Thomas added 17 more.
This game was relatively even from start to finish and neither team led by double digits until the very end, when Phoenix gained control after DeWanna Bonner made two clutch shots in the closing minutes. Free throws ended up making the game look a bit less close than it actually was.
WHAT A SHOT BY DB!— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) August 24, 2018
Followed by the best celebration of the night! pic.twitter.com/2uB0zvlBZv
And Griner also made this clutch block which was a turning point in the game:
The Mercury now enter the semifinals against the Seattle Storm. Sure, the Mercury were the five-seed heading into the 2018 WNBA Playoffs. But they are also 6-0 in first- and second- round playoff games since the WNBA changed its playoff format two years ago. Though the Storm appear to be the favorites in a five-game series, Phoenix is the most playoff-tested team remaining when the semifinals begin on Sunday.