Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner completed the first dunk in WNBA playoff history during her team’s victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday. The two-handed slam accounted for two of Griner’s playoff-high 21 points.
Griner’s dunk punctuated the Mercury’s dominant two-game sweep of the Sparks in the WNBA’s Western Conference semifinals. In the third quarter of Sunday’s game, the 23-year-old intercepted an errant pass and dribbled down the court for a coast-to-coast finish.
“That’s what I do,” Griner told reporters after the game, according to the Associated Press. “I dunk.” It was the fifth time that Griner has dunked since the Mercury selected her with the first overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft. There have only been 11 dunks in WNBA history, the first of which was accomplished in 2002 by former Sparks star and women's basketball legend Lisa Leslie.
Griner went 9-for-9 from the field, setting a WNBA record for most field goal attempts without a miss. For Griner, the strong effort in Game 2 was a bid at redemption; she shot just 2-for-11 from the field in the first game of the series.
“I played [terrible] that game and I didn’t help my team at all,” Griner said. “I definitely wanted to come out and establish myself in the paint and help my team out. The coaches did a good job getting us ready and letting us know that we definitely needed to bring it here in L.A. I think we did that.”
Even before her historic performance, August was a memorable month for Griner. On Aug. 15, she announced her engagement to girlfriend Glory Johnson, a fellow WNBA star who plays forward for the Tulsa Shock.
“Yeah, I’m off the market,” Griner told ESPN at the time. “It was a good day.”
Griner posted a photo of her proposal to Instagram. “Last Night was a Night to Remember. I became the happiest person on this earth! (almost pass out but when that one word came out I came back to life) Me and my baby are in it for Life!” she wrote.
The Mercury have now advanced to the WNBA Western Conference Finals, where they will face the Minnesota Lynx. The first game of the series will take place on Friday, Aug. 29, at 10 p.m. ET.