Last night, the Shey Peddy stole the show.
A buzzer beating triple from Peddy (?!?!?!) took the headlines from the 2020 WNBA Playoffs first night of action. Down 84-82, Peddy caught a loping pass from Skylar Diggins-Smith with fewer than three seconds to play. Coolly, she pump faked to let Leilani Mitchell fly by her, then released from the corner with tenths of seconds to go. Time expired before the shot could reach its apex, which spelled doom for the reigning champions when it nailed the inside of the rim and nestled down the net.
“It’s unreal, man. I don’t know,” an almost speechless Shey Peddy told Holly Rowe moments after the win. “I wasn’t really expecting (Diggins-Smith) to pass it, and then something said I had enough time to fake and get it up. I honestly just prayed that it went in.”
And she did it against her former team.
Shey Peddy made her WNBA debut in 2019 at age 30 for the Mystics, featuring in 15 games. One week before the team left for the bubble, Washington called her. In mid-August, the ‘Stics waived Peddy. On Aug. 19, the Mercury picked her up, and as she was already in the bubble, she joined immediately.
Playing in the first WNBA playoff game of her career, Peddy made the first game winner in all of her years of basketball. And she did so against the team that made it possible by giving her a shot: the Mystics.
“If Coach T didn’t bring me here, I wouldn’t have this opportunity right now,” Peddy said to Rowe about Mystics head coach Mike Thibault. “I really appreciate him giving me a chance, and I’m trying to get the most out of it.”
She finished the night with 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field, leading all bench players from either team.
Mitchell led all scorers with 25, but it was one point too few for No. 8 seed Washington to retain hope at defending last year’s title. Two Mercury players – Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi – finished with more than 20 points, collectively shooting 14-of-32 from the field. But it was Shey Peddy who was the hero on the night, lifting No. 5 seed Phoenix to an 85-84 victory to face the No. 4 seed Minnesota Lynx on Thursday in the second round.
Also, the Sun and Sky played.
It didn’t have the same memorable ending, but behind 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting and 13 rebounds from Alyssa Thomas, No. 7 seed Connecticut took care of No. 6 seed Chicago, 94-81, to keep its hopes of returning to the WNBA Finals alive.
There was nothing to separate the teams halfway through with the score tied at 41, but the third quarter proved to be decisive. The Sun clamped down hard on the Sky defensively, only allowing Chicago 13 shot attempts, and just four of those connected (30.8 percent). That gave Connecticut opportunities on the other end, and soon the Sun were running away. The Sky found themselves down a good margin after losing the third quarter, 27-11.
Chicago came within 10 in the fourth quarter, but it couldn’t overcome the lopsided third. It helped that DeWanna Bonner went 8-of-8 from the free-throw line in the period, part of her perfect 13-of-13 mark from the charity stripe on the night. In all, Connecticut appeared calm and collected in the second half to cap off a relatively comfortable first round victory.