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Kristi Toliver's WNBA record 9 3s, ranked from hard to hardest

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Toliver delivered a sensational shooting performance on Sunday. Let’s marvel at all nine makes.

Kristi Toliver missed seven of her first eight shots against the Liberty, which makes her brilliant performance on Sunday even more impressive. In the Mystics’ second single-elimination WNBA Playoff game, Toliver snapped a league record with nine made three-pointers, hitting five of them in the third quarter alone.

Toliver is a 30-year-old veteran who has had a sweet three-point stroke her entire career. In fact, she’s already 11th all-time with made threes, nailing 492 of them since entering in 2009 and adding more each year. She shoots 39 percent for her career, and she’s exactly the veteran shooter — one who wasn’t fazed after a cold start — that the Mystics needed during this postseason.

Her record-breaking performance wasn’t the result of bad defense. All nine makes had a defender within arm’s reach, several came off the dribble, and the rest were several feet behind the line.

I’d argue this game wasn’t Tolliver getting hot or lucky as much as it was a shooter demonstrating the peak of her craft.

You can see all nine makes in the video above. Below is a ranking of the degree of difficulty of the nine three-pointers she hit on Sunday, from easiest to hardest.

1. 6:12, 2nd quarter (1st make)

Toliver was scoreless and had missed six straight shots when she popped open in the corner on a simple off-ball move. Her defender, caught ball watching, is a second behind her and that’s all the time Toliver needed to open her scoring.

2. 2:48, third quarter (8th make)

Toliver is already shooting this jumper microseconds after catching it. If you squint, you can spot her defender — still in a defensive stance without her arms even raised. That’s a mistake when guarding someone who already knocked down seven shots from deep.

3. 8:52, third quarter (4th make)

4. 4:04, second quarter (2nd make)

Both these shots are pull-up jumpers dribbling left, though Toliver has a little more room on the first one. These aren’t easy shots, but for a premier shooter like Toliver, she’ll knock these down more often than not.

5. 3:02, second quarter (3rd make)

6. 6:39, third quarter (5th make)

The WNBA uses the same three-point line as FIBA — a consistent 22 feet and 1 34 inches. That’s about halfway between the standard college line and NBA distance, for reference. On the two shots above and one below, you’ll see Toliver find room simply by stepping back.

The first one looks to be about 24 or 25 feet, and I’d guess the second one registers at about 26 feet. That second one gave the Mystics a lead they wouldn’t relinquish and one that would explode to double figures before the quarter was over mostly thanks to Toliver’s torrid shooting.

7. 4:52, third quarter (7th make)

This shot is the same as above — Toliver catches, pauses, stares down her defender, and launches — except that she has to be 28 feet from the basket. This is where Stephen Curry shoots from.

8. 5:58, third quarter (6th make)

This shot’s contested as hell and Toliver launches it right over her defender anyway.

9. 6:48, fourth quarter (9th make)

Deep? Check. After dribble around the perimeter? Check. With a defender closing on her? Check.

Toliver’s record-breaking shot was the most difficult one all night. What a shooting showcase this was.