Yes, Brittney Griner dunked, but it was the smallest player on the floor for the Washington Mystics, Ivory Latta, that made most impact.
The Phoenix Mercury weren’t going to let the Washington Mystics get ahead by more than one basket, and so they trailed by one point for almost the entire game. Only the clock would stop the Mercury from ever pulling ahead as time ran out, and the Mystics hung on for the win.
Phoenix (17-12) fell to Washington (16-11), 63-71, at the Verizon Center for the opponents’ first matchup this season.
The largest margin of the game began halfway through the first quarter when the Mystics had a 6-15 advantage led by Tierra Ruffin-Pratt. Guard Noelle Quinn cut the lead to five points after hitting a baseline shot with less than three minutes left to play in the first quarter. Washington shot 8 for 12 in the first quarter and led the Mercury, 24-19.
The second quarter was a game of catch-up for Phoenix as they consistently trailed by three or more points and cut it to a one-point game. Phoenix was able to diminish the Mystics’ lead to 23-29 at 7:30 in the second quarter.
DeWanna Bonner sunk two free throw shots after being fouled by Ruffin-Pratt and made it a one-point game for Washington. Leilani Mitchell hit a three with 10 seconds left in the second quarter and rounded out the first half 37-41.
The Mercury opened the second half play with more energy and consistency and continued to keep the Mystics within two points. Brittany Grinner got the crowd up on their feet early in the half after slamming a one-handed dunk—the second dunk in her season and sixth in her career. Mitchell tied the game for Phoenix after hitting a three with 40 seconds left to play in the third quarter.
The Mercury seemed to lose their cool as the clock ran out, and Washington pulled ahead in the last minutes of the game. With three minutes left to play, the Mystics only led by two points. Phoenix struggled against the shot clock as Mitchell air balled a forced shot from 24 feet away, and the Mystics’ aggressive defense prevented any shots from inside the paint.
Ivory Latta shot 6 for 11 and led the Mystics with 24 points. Emma Meesseman followed with 14 points and Stefanie Dolson 10 points for Washington. Mitchell led Phoenix with 16 points and Grinner added 12.
Both teams play again on Sunday. Phoenix travels to Minneapolis to compete against the Minnesota Lynx, and Washington hits the road to face off against the Seattle Storm.