Leilani grew up as the only girl in a family of six on the west coast of the United States, in the Washington state city of Richland, not far from the Oregon border.
Basketball ruled her early sporting life at Kennewick High School, where her success as a guard earned her a scholarship to the University of Idaho for three years, before transferring to the University of Utah.
Having an American father, Dennis, and an Australian mother, Ellie, earned her the chance to play for the Opals one day – which came in 2014 – but she has become a seasoned world traveller along the way.
Her success with the Utah ‘Utes’ earned her the Mountain West Conference (MWC) ‘Player of the Year’ in the 2007-08 season. That led Leilani into the WNBA with the New York Liberty, where she enjoyed a break-out 2010 season as the WNBA’s ‘Most Improved Player’.
Leilani’s talents led to four seasons with French club Arras, winning the ‘Import Player of the Year’ award in 2010, and a year with Croatian club, Novi Zagreb.
Her push to play in Australia was rewarded when she joined the WNBL’s Dandenong Rangers for 2013-14. But since then, she has spread her talents across four other WNBL clubs.
She declared her allegiance to the Opals heading into the 2014 FIBA World Championship where she made her debut for Australia.
Leilani signed with Adelaide Lightning for the 2015-16 WNBL season and helped Australia to the quarter-finals at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
But her journey didn’t end there. She joined the Sydney Uni Flames, taking them to the 2016-17 WNBL national title and first for 16 years, while she was able to play in the post-season with the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA.
She switched to WNBL side University of Canberra Capitals and currently is with the Jayco Southside Flyers.
In 28 minutes per game at Rio 2016, Mitchell was one of the side’s best averaging with 11.3 points, 3 rebounds and 4.5 assists.