The Washington Mystics won their first playoff game at home against the Dallas Wings last Wednesday. This set up a showdown with the overall four seed, the New York Liberty on their home court, Madison Square Garden today. When it was all said and done, the Mystics won 82-68 to clinch a semi-final berth — a five game series — against the top seeded Minnesota Lynx.
The Mystics haven’t been in a semi-finals round since 2002. No worries. Toughness, rebounding and chemistry, and Kristi Toliver, saved the day.
Washington brought the receipts for some tough losses to the Liberty in the near and distant past!
It was LIT! The MSG crowd got the Liberty off on the right foot.
The Mystics started off SO SLOW, scoring 10 first quarter points. It was woeful!
Could not have scripted a worse start for the Ms.— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) September 10, 2017
Hold me pic.twitter.com/FDk9ok4WyS
But, in the second quarter the Mystics pulled their defense together and scored 25 points, as well. They rallied within six points. And hope was alive!
In the second half, well, we can just call it Kristi Toliver Time:
Toliver exploded with 32 points to lead all scorers. If you saw the press conference after the first round playoff win against Dallas, you could clearly surmise that Toliver was taking these opportunities very seriously. AHEM. We gotcha.
Krystal Thomas showed up when it counted, cleaning up baskets and just making the Liberty sad down low. She got one vote for Most Improved Player this season, but the winner, Jonquel Jones is going fishing right now, and Thomas is heading to the Semi Finals. So yeah.
Emma Meesseman had a terrible game. She could not buy a lay-up, and finished with five points, five rebounds and two steals. If she didn’t do such a great job of hassling people and drawing double-teams, this would be a trash game from her.
Elena Delle Donne shot 8-21, terrible. But she somehow managed to hit a shot when it was critical, below! She and Meesse had rough games offensively, but big blocks and hanging tough on defense, made a huge difference overall.
The Minnesota Lynx are up next. Frankly, the Mystics haven’t done anything against them.
Obviously, touch-fouls and home-court advantage play into the Lynx’s favor, but WOW what a come-back win by the Mystics. They have set themselves up in the perfect position to make it to the WNBA Finals and they look like they BELIEVE!