The Washington Mystics edged out the Las Vegas Aces in Game 1 last Tuesday, 97-95, after Kelsey Plum missed a potential tying-game shot in the final seconds. Washington currently leads the WNBA semifinals series 1-0.
When: September 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C.
How to watch: ESPN2
Mystics: Kiara Leslie (Knee, Out)
The Mystics must improve defense and game play
Washington’s biggest fault was their defense as a whole in the first game. Coach Thibault mentioned the defense was a bit of scramble especially when the Aces forced match ups on one end of the ball and switched around causing at times confusion.
The stifling defense they played throughout the regular season is the same that needs to show up in Game 2 or the Mystics will have a problem. The Aces can be a quick team that starts runs after being down just a few points.
The Mystics must improve their offense as well. For a team that’s known for being very well-rounded, allowing 95 points in a game and at home just isn’t their style. Something has to be down where their aggressiveness on the court can cause a panic mentality for Las Vegas.
If Washington can fix minor flaws and mishaps from Tuesday, then they’ll definitely take Game 2 in style and possibly ending the series when they go on the road next week.
Okay, what happened at the end of Game 1?
Although the Mystics won Game 1, a controversial no timeout call has surfaced especially after Las Vegas Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer voiced exactly what happened. Elena Delle Donne made a 11-foot turnaround fadeaway to take a 97-93 lead over the Aces.
Las Vegas came back down as Plum shot a 7-footer making the score 97-95. During the Mystics’ next possession, Delle Donne missed the shot to extend the lead and Aces grabbed the defensive rebound.
At that moment, many wondered why no timeout was called to draw up a play in the final seconds to tie or go for the win. What was seen was Plum driving down the court missing the floater shot to tie the game ending in a Mystics victory.
Here are the exact words from Coach Laimbeer on the no timeout call:
“I was right standing next to the referee by design. As soon as they missed a shot I was going to be yelling “Timeout! Timeout! Timeout!”. “They missed the shot, we got the rebound,” Laimber said. “I yelled it five times and she even looked at me when I was yelling and made a conscious decision not to call a timeout. I do not understand why. I think the league will make a little bit of an investigation as to why that timeout was not called. It was unfortunate. It did not cost us the game, but it cost us a good shot.”
Here’s the final play where if you pay close attention, Laimbeer is shouting timeout to the ref as Plum drove down the court.
Here's the final play from Game 1 of Mystics-Aces. Bill Laimbeer wanted a timeout, but refs probably could not hear through the crowd. Kelsey Plum tried to draw a foul on Elena Delle Donne, but no call.— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) September 18, 2019
Kristi Toliver put it best: "I'm glad [Dearica] Hamby didn't have the ball." pic.twitter.com/kTd74P28jN
Fortunately the no call was in Washington‘s favor. We’ll see how things look tomorrow night.