|WNBA's New York Liberty – No. 5|
June 15, 1985 |
|Nationality||American / Australian|
|Height||5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)|
|Weight||128 lb (58 kg)|
|High school||Kennewick (Kennewick, Washington)|
|Draft||25th overall, 2008
|New York Liberty (2008–present)|
|Awards and honors|
|WNBA Most Improved Player (2010)|
Leilani Seamah Mitchell (born June 15, 1985) is an American/Australian basketball player in the WNBA for the New York Liberty. Mitchell has pledged her allegiances to Australia ahead of the 2014 World Championships in Turkey.
Mitchell is the only daughter of Dennis Mitchell and Eleanor Madjic. She has 5 brothers Tyler, Troy, Travis, Reggie, and Robbie. Her father is American and her mother is Australian of Asian descent (specifically Filipino, Malaysian, Singaporean, Indian, and others), Eleanor Madjic. Mitchell has dual citizenship in the United States of America and Australia.
Mitchell played high school basketball at Kennewick High School in Kennewick, Washington. Mitchell was named first-team all-state and all-conference as a junior and senior at Kennewick High School and earned Big Nine Conference Player of the Year honors as a senior. In four consecutive years, Mitchell led Kennewick High School to state championship games, including Kennewick's title-winning season of 2000.
Mitchell played her first three years of college basketball at the University of Idaho. Mitchell rose to national prominence in her sophomore year, and was named honorable mention All-America by the Associated Press and the WBCA in 2005-06 She was named one of 11 finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award, given to the nation's top point guard She led the WAC and ranked second in the nation in steals in 2005-06, averaging 4.0 per game. She ranked first in the WAC and 18th nationally in assists, averaging 5.6 per contest, and scored 17.6 points per game.
As a junior for Idaho, ranking second in the WAC and 50th in the nation Mitchell left Idaho with the school's career record for steals (323) and also a single-game record for three-pointers (seven). She was in the top 10 on four single-season and five career charts at Idaho Mitchell holds the WAC single-season record for steals. She also on four WAC career top 10-charts.
Mitchell then transferred to the University of Utah. She sat out the 2006-07 season under NCAA rules, and then played the 2007-08 season for Utah. At Utah she dishes out 7.23 assists per game, and won five Mountain West Conference Player of the Week awards, more than any other player in the MWC. She has eight 20-point games this year. That count includes five 24-point outings and two season-high-tying 26-point games (at BYU and UNLV).
One of only six NCAA Division I players since 1999-2000 to compile 2,000 points/500 rebounds/500 assists/300 steals in her career others were Alana Beard (Duke), Shenise Johnson (Miami-Fla.), Maya Moore(Connecticut), Courtney Vandersloot(Gonzaga) and Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame).
Mitchell was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury twenty-fifth overall in the second round of 2008 WNBA Draft. Mitchell was then traded to the New York Liberty learned during the 2008 pre-season that the Mercury planned to cut Mitchell, the Liberty acquired Mitchell in a trade in exchange for a 2009 third round draft pick.
Initially a bench player, Mitchell made her first professional start on June 6, 2008 in place of the injured Loree Moore. During the 2008 season she developed a strong fan following and a reputation for fearlessness in grabbing loose balls and occasionally driving to the basket.
Mitchell scored 14 points in the Liberty's narrow loss to the Detroit Shock in Game 3 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals.
Mitchell became the regular starting point guard in the 2010 season, after the Liberty released Moore in the offseason. Mitchell led the WNBA in 3-point percentage at 48%, scored 9.3 points per game, and had 3.8 assists per game en route to winning the 2010 WNBA Most Improved Player Award.
On September 2, 2011, Mitchell scored a career high 24 points in a win against the Minnesota Lynx. Mitchell voluntarily decided to skip the 2014 WNBA season to spend time with her family in Australia.
Mitchell has played for ASPTT Arras in the Ligue Féminine de Basketball (LFB), a French professional league, during the WNBA off-season. For the 2009-10 season, Mitchell won the Import Player of the Year Award and was named to the LFB 1st Team.
WNBA career statistics
- Booth, Doug (December 26, 2013). Star Ranger laps up Territory Christmas. NT News (page 49). Retrieved 2014-06-11
- Basketball Australia (December 17, 2013). WNBL stars named for January Opals camp. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
- FIBA World Championship for Women. Joyce thrilled to get Mitchell on board. Retrieved 2014-04-18
- [Vandal]Profile: Leilani Mitchell
- Heyman, Brian (August 21, 2010). "Heart Lighter and Game Honed, Point Guard Leads the Liberty". New York Times. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
- WNBA Player of the Week Leilani Mitchell puts herself on Brendan Joyce's Opals radar. news.com.au. Retrieved 2014-06-11
- Potter, Jarrod (January 20, 2014). The colour of Opal. Star News Group Pty. Retrieved 2014-06-11
- ESPN - Timing is everything for Mitchell, Utes - Women's College Basketball
- http://www.wnba.com/playerfile/leilani_mitchell/bio.html Leila Mitchell Bio
- Cherwoo, Vin A. (August 26, 2010). "Liberty's Leilani Mitchell is WNBA's most improved". USA Today (Associated Press). Retrieved September 5, 2010.
- LFB: Season 2009-2010