Hometown: Richland, Washington (USA)
Junior Association: Kennewick High School, Washington (USA)
Current Club: Phoenix Mercury (WNBA)
International Debut: 2014
It has been a special journey for Leilani Mitchell to become a Australian Opal, with the daughter of an Australian mother now set to become a key piece of the national team program.
Born to an Australian mother and American father, Mitchell first came to prominence as a star high school player in Washington, earning a scholarship to the University of Idaho. Here the diminutive guard enjoyed a successful three season stay before transferring to the University of Utah for her senior year.
It was a season to remember for Mitchell, claiming the Mountain West Conference (MWC) Player of the Year – enough to have WNBA teams clamouring for her services. The Phoenix Mercury selected her 25th overall in the 2008 WNBA Draft, trading her days later to the New York Liberty.
Here Mitchell became a regular in the Liberty rotation, enjoying a breakout 2010 season that earned her the WNBA Most Improved Player award. Mitchell was also impressing in France, where she played four seasons with Arras and win LFB Import Player of the Year in 2010.
Mitchell took the opportunity to play in Australia for the first time, signing with the Dandenong Rangers for the 2013/14 Wattle Valley WNBL season. She declared her allegiances to the Opals heading into the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women campaign before signing with Adelaide for the 2015/16 WNBL season.
Following a strong performance in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, where she led the Opals team to the quarter finals, Mitchell made the move across the country to represent the Sydney Uni Flames in the WNBL. Heralded as one of the premier point guards of the WNBL, Mitchell led the team to the national Championship and continued to star for the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA as well.
She returned to the national team in 2018 for the FIBA World Cup following another post-season appearance in the WNBA. Unfortunately Mitchell was unable to play in the tournament due to a late injury. After the setback, Mitchell returned to Australia, signing with the UC Capitals in the WNBL where was an integral member of the club's 2019 Championship. She has since signed for the Southside Flyers for the 2019/20 season.
2003-2006 – University of Idaho (NCAA)
2007-2008 – University of Utah (NCAA)
2008-2014 – New York Liberty (WNBA)
2008-2012 – Arras (France)
2012-2013 – Novi Zagreb (Croatia)
2013-2014 – Dandenong Rangers (WNBL)
2015-Current - Phoenix Mercury (WNBA)
2015-2016 - Adelaide Lightning (WNBL)
2016-2017 - Sydney Uni Flames (WNBL)
2018-2019 - University of Canberra Capitals
2019-Current - Southside Flyers
WNBL Champion: 2019
WNBL Golden Hands award: 2015
FIBA World Championship: 2014 (Bronze)
WNBA Most Improved Player of the Year: 2010
WNBL All-Star Five: 2014
LFB Import Player of the Year: 2010
Mountain West Conference (MWC) Player of the Year: 2008
All-MWC First Team: 2008