A Mystics season filled with dramatic victories and unprecedented success ended with an unceremonious 98-82 loss to cap off a three-game sweep in the WNBA Finals at the hands of the Seattle Storm on Wednesday night.
As good as Washington has been all season, they just weren’t able to get back to what they were before Elena Delle Donne injured her knee in the semifinals. They emptied out everything in their bag of tricks just to get past the Atlanta Dream and it was clear from early on in this series they just didn’t have anything left for the WNBA’s best team.
Natasha Howard led the way for Seattle with 29 points and 14 rebounds, including their first seven points of the game. She helped the Storm took advantage of extra shot opportunities off of offensive rebounds and Washington turnovers early in the game to help Seattle take an early lead.
The Mystics’ defense held strong despite the extra possessions in the first quarter, but Seattle finally found the cracks in Washington’s defense in the second quarter. They hit four threes and outscored Washington 26-14 in the quarter to take a 16-point lead into halftime.
Washington came out in the second half with the hustle and desperation you’d expect from a team with their season hanging in the balance. Unfortunately, that extra gusto wound up hurting them after LaToya Sanders injured her ankle chasing a loose ball early in the third quarter.
Elena Delle Donne spurred one last furious rally to cut the deficit from 16 down to 5 in the fourth quarter, but that’s as close as they would get. The Storm closed on a 26-15 run to seal the game, the series, Seattle’s third WNBA title.
While their season may have ended on a much quieter note than many would have hoped, Washington’s window is far from shut. Delle Donne will be back to full health for next season, Ariel Atkins will only get better with time, and Emma Meeseman will add a whole new dimension when she returns next season. This won’t be the last time you hear from the Washington Mystics.