In the first game following All-Star break, the Washington Mystics held on to beat the Phoenix Mercury at home 99-93. Elena Delle Donne (above) scored a season high 33 points, Kristi Toliver had 25 points and the Mystics relied on their defense late to close things out.
The Mercury nearly rallied from a 23 point deficit, got as close to just two points down before the Mystics created some breathing room. Brittney Griner had 30 points and nine rebounds, Leilani Mitchell tied an WNBA single game record by hitting eight three pointers on her way to a career high 28 points. DeWanna Bonner scored 25 as well.
The Mystics used their defense to set the tone early, running out to a 21-13 lead after the first quarter. The Mercury roared back in the second quarter, specifically to close the half and trailed by just 10 points.
Both teams struggled to shoot the three ball in the first half, all of those issues were left behind in the first half apparently.
Starting the third quarter like they started the first, Washington looked to be blowing the game open. Delle Donne started cooking, she had 15 points in the quarter and with 4:15 left in the third quarter, the Mystics led by 23.
Mitchell hit a few shots at the start of the half to keep her team around, Phoenix closed the half on a little run. Griner was scoring inside and Mitchell kept knocking down triples. The Mystics kept going under screens and Mitchell was making them pay.
Kristi Toliver hit a huge step back three to close the third quarter, giving her team some breathing room and pushing the lead back to 17.
The last time the Mercury were in D.C. this season, we asked Bonner how they're able to handle their business without the services of Diana Taurasi. She calmly replied "we're vets." That's who the Mercury relied on as they started the fourth quarter off strong.
Phoenix would score 32 points in the quarter, outscoring Washington by 11.
Toliver hit a floater over Griner with 1:33 left, Mitchell responded with a corner three that nearly touched every part of the rim before falling in on the ensuing possession. At this point, the Mercury trailed by just two.
Toliver again would answer the bell, delivering the dagger with her third triple of the night. After a stop on the defensive end by Washington, Natasha Cloud is fouled and went to the line. She split the pair, giving her team a six point lead.
The Mystics locked up on the defensive end, Delle Donne blocked her third shot of the night and they were able to hold on.
Washington has now won four in a row and they trail both the Connecticut Sun and Las Vegas Aces by just a half a game.
Up next, the Mystics head out West for two games against the Storm and Mercury. They're tied with the Mercury in their season series 1-1, the Mystics will finish their game against Las Vegas while out West as well. They were leading 51-36 before that game was postponed.