The Mystics started the WNBA semifinals on the wrong note as they lost Game 1 to the Minnesota Lynx, 101-81.
This game was a blowout, and I wasn’t surprised that Game 1 went that way to be honest. That said, the Mystics did get a promising start when Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored six early points in the first quarter to get Washington an early 14-10 lead with 5:08 in the first quarter. But from there, it was all-Lynx for the rest of the game, starting from the time when they finished that quarter on a 16-4 run. The game just wasn’t fun to watch as the Mystics were picked apart time and time again from the WNBA runners-up.
Elena Delle Donne and Emma Meesseman scored 17 and 15 points respectively, while making four combined threes. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt also had a strong scoring game where she scored 16 points. But besides these three, no one else provided much value out there, besides Kristi Toliver’s six assists.
As for the Lynx, Seimone Augustus led all scorers with 24 points on 11 of 17 shooting while Sylvia Fowles and Renee Montgomery added 18 each and Maya Moore added another 14 more.
Let’s get to some takeaways.
The Lynx had a freaky good day from the three point line
The Mystics were feared in the preseason as this Golden State Warriors-esque team that could stretch the floor. They actually have shown glimpses of that when healthy. But tonight, the Lynx shot 12 of 17 from deep, while the Mystics were 9 of 21. Shooting 42 percent from three is a good showing by the Mystics. Shooting 71 percent from three is better.
Where was the Mystics’ backcourt scoring?
Kristi Toliver scored 32 points in Washington’s big win over the New York Liberty. But she came out with a dud, scoring just 3 points on 1 of 7 shooting, though she did dish six assists.
It’s not like she got much support from anyone not named Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, who scored 16 points on 5 of 9 shooting tonight. Most of the points Ivory Latta scored ended coming up when the outcome of the game was decided.
It still pays to have experience
The Lynx have several players who are in their mid 30’s and won three WNBA titles together. Sure, this team’s championship window is closing. But their window is still more open than the Mystics’, which is finally opening. But still, it’s clear that the Mystics are coming into this series fighting an uphill battle.
Game 2 is on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. Watch it on ESPN2 and WatchESPN. I’m actually ahppy to see that the Mystics did a decent job on offense. They shared the basketball. They also weren’t dominated by the Lynx on the rebounds, and they weren’t terribly turnover prone, though they were behind in both areas. The Mystics just need some more scoring from others on their roster so we can see if they can sneak out of Game 2 with a win before Game 3 at home on Sunday.