WNBA Playoffs: Kristi Toliver shoots Washington Mystics to win over New York Liberty

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Kristi Toliver
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Kristi Toliver /

NEW YORK — Both WNBA Playoffs games on Sunday followed a similar pattern, and unfortunately for the New York Liberty that meant a single-elimination loss to snap a 10-game winning streak.

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Much like the Connecticut Sun did against the Mercury earlier in the day, the Liberty took a commanding early lead at home, only to see the Mystics shoot their way back into the game and win, 82-68.

Kristi Toliver (32 points, 9-16 3PT) keyed the run for Washington, going berserk from three, particularly in the third quarter. With New York clinging to a six-point lead at the half, Toliver hit all five of her three-point attempts out of the locker room to give the Mystics a lead they would never relinquish.

It was a stark contrast to the first quarter where the Liberty held Washington players not named Elena Delle Donne to 1-13 shooting, while Tina Charles took charge early. Charles had eight points in the first quarter and the Liberty led by 11 after the first 10 minutes. But Toliver arrived midway through the second quarter when she hit her first three. She had 12 points by halftime.

While the Liberty were still within striking distance after three, the fourth quarter belonged entirely to the Mystics. Try as they might, the Liberty could get nothing going offensively, while the Mystics methodically built their lead to over 20.

Delle Donne recorded a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Charles led the Liberty with 18 points, but was largely ineffective in the second half. For a while, Bria Hartley tried to keep New York in the game. Hartley’s efforts netted her 15 points and five assists.

With the win, the Mystics advance to face the Minnesota Lynx in a best-of-five semifinal series. The Mercury, meanwhile, will play the Sparks for a spot in the WNBA Finals. Both series will tip off on Tuesday on ESPN2.