Elena Delle Donne had 19 points and 12 rebounds to help the Washington Mystics rout the visiting Los Angeles Sparks 96-64 on Thursday night in the second round of the WNBA playoffs.
The Sparks and the Lynx — who have won the past three WNBA champions — have now both been eliminated from the postseason. Third-seeded Washington will open a best-of-five series at Atlanta on Sunday, aiming for its first WNBA Finals appearance.
LaToya Sanders and Ariel Atkins each scored 14 points for Washington. The Mystics had 28 assists and six players in double figures.
Delle Donne made a baseline jumper to close a 15-2 run for a 21-13 lead and the Mystics extended it to 50-29 by halftime and led 75-46 entering the fourth.
The Sparks played at Connecticut on Sunday, hosted the Lynx on Tuesday, and returned to the East Coast in a four-day stretch.
"[They were] extremely gassed," said Natasha Cloud, who had 13 points and seven assists for Washington. "So we knew that, and we took that to our advantage."
Candace Parker scored 16 points for Los Angeles (19-16). Nneka Ogwumike and Chelsea Gray — two of the Sparks' top three scorers — combined to go 0-for-9 shooting in the first half. Ogwumike finished with eight points and Gray, who had 26 in the 75-68 playoff victory over the Lynx, had seven.
The game was played at George Washington University because the Mystics' regular home, Capital One Arena, is undergoing renovations.
No matter. The Mystics shot 56.9 percent from the field, made all 13 of their free throw attempts, and went 9-for-23 from behind the arc.
Delle Donne said her team knew "if we continue to move the ball, they were going to break down at some point."
Phoenix 96, Connecticut 86: Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner each scored 27 points and DeWanna Bonner 23 as the visiting Mercury eliminated the Sun. Courtney Williams had 27 points for Connecticut.
"We relish these moments where it's up to you if you want to keep playing," said Taurasi, who is 13-0 in her career in deciding playoff games.
Stephanie Talbot of the Sun hit a three-pointer to tie it at 84-all with 4:19 left. Griner then scored four points and had a key block as the Mercury opened a 92-86 lead with 1:11 left.
The Mercury will play at Seattle in the conference semifinals, starting Sunday.