Sept. 24, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. - The first round of the 2013 WNBA Playoffs is in the books and both former Auburn players have advanced to their respective conference championships. DeWanna Bonner and the Phoenix Mercury will play for the Western Conference title while Le'Coe Willingham and the Atlanta Dream will play for the East title.
Bonner and the Mercury downed the Los Angeles Sparks 2-1 in the best-of-three series. Phoenix won the first game 86-75 in Los Angeles before falling to the Sparks at home, 82-73, in the second game. Phoenix used a late basket by Brittney Griner to seal the 78-77 win at LA Monday night.
Bonner, a native of Fairfield, Ala., struggled in the first two games of the series. She tallied just three points and two steals in the first game, following it up with four points, seven rebounds and four assists in the second. She stepped up in the deciding-game, however, and tallied 19 points, six rebounds and four assists in the series-clinching win.
Willingham and the Dream, who have former Auburn head coach Joe Ciampi as an assistant, lost the series-opener to Washington, 71-56, but rebounded to win at Washington, 63-45, setting up the clinching 80-72 home win in game three.
Willingham had two points and three rebounds in the first game, but missed the last two because of injury. Her status for the Eastern Conference Finals is yet to be decided.
Bonner and the Mercury will open the Western Conference Finals at 8 p.m. CT, Thursday at Minnesota. Phoenix will then host the Lynx at 4 p.m., Sunday. The Dream will host Indiana at 6 p.m. CT, Thursday before traveling to Indianapolis for a 2 p.m., Sunday game. All conference finals games will air live on ESPN2.