Brittney Griner dunked twice in her WNBA debut on Monday, but it wasn’t enough as the Phoenix Mercury fell to the Chicago Sky 102-80. Griner finished with 17 points, but she was outplayed by Elena Delle Donne, the No. 2 overall draft pick, who finished with 22 points in the win for the Sky.
Griner has become a role model for women’s basketball ever since she took the court at Baylor University, and her legend grew even stronger when she came out as an openly gay basketball player in April. Her announcement came just two days after she was drafted first overall by the Mercury, just ahead of Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins.
Delle Donne and Griner squared off in their WNBA debuts and the 6-foot-5 forward from the University of Delaware came out on top. She had 16 points by the half, giving the Sky a commanding 24-point lead.
The Mercury barely made a dent in the Sky’s lead in the second half, though the fourth quarter quickly became the Brittney Griner show. With just under eight minutes left in the game, Griner took a pass into the paint and threw down a one-handed dunk to the delight of fans at the US Airways Center.
She did it again with a little over two minutes left in the game after an errant pass ended up in her hands with a clear lane to the basket. Griner slammed home her second dunk of the game and even added some style to it as she rocked on the rim.
The crowd was back in it, but the Mercury failed to make a dent in the Sky’s lead. Elena Delle Donne was spectacular in her debut, and she added eight rebounds in the contest. Her 22 points is the third most ever for a WNBA debut behind Candace Parker’s 34 points in 2008 and Cynthia Cooper’s 25 way back in 1997.
Neverthless, both Delle Donne and Griner have entered the record books for their performances in the debut. The Sky controlled the game for most of the night, but it didn’t stop Brittney Griner, who dunked twice in the fourth quarter to give the crowd everything they could ask for and more.