Mystics mash Mercury, clinch playoff berth

Mystics mash Mercury, clinch playoff berth

May 25, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Wilson official basketball with WNBA logo goes through the net during the game between the LA Sparks and the Las Vegas Aces at Arena.
Image: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Elena Della Donne led five Washington double-figure scorers with 24 points and the Mystics clinched a playoff berth with a 100-77 rout of the host Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday.

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough shot 7-for-7 from the floor on the way to 17 points as Washington (18-20) salvaged the finale of a three-game road swing. The Mystics dropped the first two games of their crucial road trip, against the league-leading Las Vegas Aces and a Los Angeles Sparks team vying for playoff position.

But the Mystics’ romp in Phoenix, coupled with Los Angeles (16-20) dropping a 90-76 decision earlier in the night at Connecticut, allowed Washington to wrap up a postseason bid.

The Mystics also moved a half-game ahead of the idle Atlanta Deam, who visit Washington on Friday, in the race for sixth place.

Delle Donne shot 6-for-8 from the floor in the first half — part of a 9-for-15 night overall — and notched 16 points before intermission.

She scored eight points over a 1:22 stretch to close out the first quarter, powering Washington on an 11-5 run.

Phoenix (9-29) scored the first five points of the second to pull within single digits, then got outscored 19-10 the rest of the period. The Mercury trailed by as many as 29 points in the second half en route to their ninth consecutive loss.

Four of Washington’s starters scored at least 17 points. Brittney Sykes finished with 18 points, four rebounds and four assists. Natasha Cloud recorded her first double-double since June 25, shooting 6-for-8 from the floor en route to 20 points and dishing 10 assists. Cloud also grabbed five rebounds.

Myisha Hines-Allen, the lone Washington starter to not reach double-figure scoring, grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and doled out eight assists. Li Meng came off the bench and shot 3-for-5 from 3-point range — part of the Mystics’ 13-for-23 barrage from long range — and finished with 11 points.

Michaela Onyenwere led Phoenix with 19 points. Brittney Griner scored 16 points, and reserve Megan Gustafson shot 6-for-9 from the floor and contributed 13 points and six rebounds. Moriah Jefferson added 11 points.

—Field Level Media

Original source here

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Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.