PHOENIX — Brittney Griner had 18 points and a WNBA playoff-record 11 blocks to lead the Phoenix Mercury to an 88-55 win over the Tulsa Shock on Thursday night in the opener of the Western Conference semifinals.
Griner, named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season earlier in the day, also had eight rebounds and DeWanna Bonner added 15 points for the defending champion Mercury.
Griner, who led the league in blocks with 105 this season, broke her own single-game postseason record and shot 5 for 7 from the field and 8 for 9 on free throws.
The Mercury took control of the game in the second quarter, turning a seven-point lead to a 30-point advantage at halftime. The Shock shot just 3 for 23 from the field while getting outscored 30-7 in the second quarter.
Odyssey Sims led Tulsa with 18 points and Jordan Hooper had 15 points and six rebounds. Plenette Pierson added 10 points and also had six boards.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series is Saturday in Tulsa.
The Mercury, the No. 2 seed in the West, haven’t lost a first-round playoff series since 2000 and are 10-1 all-time in a playoff series after winning the first game.
This is the Shock’s first playoff appearance since moving to Oklahoma from Detroit before the 2010 season, and the team is relocating to the Dallas-Fort Worth area next season.
Griner, who was suspended for the season’s first seven games, blocked three shots in the first quarter before leaving with two fouls. She converted a pair of three-point plays and led the Mercury on both ends of the floor with her offense and defense.
Phoenix led 22-15 at the end of the first quarter with Tulsa shooting 7 for 22.
The Mercury extended its lead to 13 points to open the second quarter after two 3s by Leilani Mitchell, who finished with 12 points and six assists. Mitchell then set up Mistie Bass for a layup in transition for a 30-17 lead.
Tulsa went almost 4 1/2 minutes without a point in the quarter. Bonner hit a corner 3 and a reverse layup during that stretch as Phoenix went on an 11-0 run and led 52-22 at halftime.
The Shock pulled 56-38 on a 3 by Sims with 4:23 left in the third quarter. But Mitchell made a 3 as the shot clock expired with 1:19 left to put Phoenix up 65-40.
The Shock never got closer than 23 points the rest of the way.