August 8, 2018 / 6:18 AM / in 3 months

Delle Donne, Toliver lead way as Mystics clinch playoff spot

Elena Delle Donne scored 30 points and Kristi Toliver added 25 points as the Washington Mystics clinched a WNBA playoff spot with a 103-98 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday night at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix.

LaToya Sanders scored 19 points and Natasha Cloud added 15 points for Washington (18-11) which connected on 11-of-23 3-pointers while shooting 56.1 percent from the floor.

Brittney Griner scored 35 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Diana Taurasi scored 29 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists for Phoenix (16-14) which lost its fifth straight home game.

DeWanna Bonner finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Mercury, who have dropped nine of their last 11 games.

Washington, which picked up a victory before even taking the court on Tuesday when the WNBA ruled the Las Vegas Aces must forfeit their game with the Mystics that was canceled Friday night after travel issues, shot 70.6 percent in the first quarter, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range, in taking a 30-20 lead with Delle Donna (10) and Toliver (nine) combining for 19 points and four 3-pointers.

The Mystics led by 15 points on four occasions in the second period. The last of those was 45-30 after a driving layup by Delle Donne with 4:46 left. Phoenix closed to within six, 54-48, on a short jumper by Griner, but Cloud answered with a 3-pointer followed by a layup by Bonner to give Washington a 57-50 halftime lead.

Cloud hit a 3-pointer to start the third quarter to increase Washington’s lead to 60-50, but Phoenix answered with a 21-6 run to take a 71-66 lead with Griner scoring 11 points during the spurt.

A 3-pointer by Yvonne Turner to start the fourth quarter gave the Mercury a 79-75 lead. But Washington then went on a 15-2 run over the next five minutes to take a 90-81 lead.

The Mercury closed to 100-98 on three free throws by Taurasi with 17.5 seconds to go.

Toliver hit the second of two free throws to make it 101-98 with 16.2 seconds left, but Taurasi, trapped in the corner, threw the ball away before she was able to launch a potential game-tying 3-pointer.

Toliver then sealed the win with two free throws.

—Field Level Media

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