The Washington Mystics (0-1) square off against the Minnesota Lynx (1-0) for Game 2 of their WNBA Semifinals series -- a best of five affair -- in Minneapolis again tonight, before coming back home on Sunday at 3:00 P.M., for Game 3.
You can watch this on ESPN2 on the television or on WatchESPN online.
There is also a watch party at The Greene Turtle’s Capital One Arena location by the way.
Issa party, issa party, issa party!— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) September 13, 2017
TOMORROW. @TheGreeneTurtle at Capital One Arena.
See ya then! #EyesUpDC pic.twitter.com/oAemFBi46a
Game 1 was a blowout. I doubt that caught anyone off-guard. The Mystics didn’t have much of a showing against the Lynx during the season, as well, albeit never with a full, healthy roster. So seeing them hang for a quarter and then watch the Lynx go on a tear wasn’t too surprising.
What to look out for
What one might take as an encouraging sign, was that Coach Thibault limited the minutes of his Big Three: Elena Delle Donne, Emma Meesseman and Krystal Thomas in the first game of the series. EDD and Meesse played about 29 minutes and Thomas played 18.
Certainly not the construct of the team that won two single-elimination playoff rounds last week.
In the first round against the Dallas Wings, EDD and Meesse played 37 minutes, Kristi Toliver played 36, and Krystal Thomas 31 minutes. It was a balanced attack, and this is what we’ve come to expect from EDD, below.
The @WashMystics advanced to the 2nd Round for the first time since 2002 behind @De11eDonne's 25 pts, 11 reb, 3 ast & 2 blk! #WNBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/h2F6ij6K22— WNBA (@WNBA) September 7, 2017
Meesseman had a double-double, as well, and K. Thomas grabbed 17 rebounds. Considering how ‘physical’ it was, it was a good showing by Washington.
In round two, against the N.Y. Liberty, Meesse played 37 minutes, EDD played 35, Toliver managed her astonishing nine 3 pointers in 31 minutes, and K. Thomas chipped in 28 minutes for that decisive 14 point win.
This is terrific analysis of Toliver’s career night, below.
Dove into the #WNBA footage to break down how Kristi Tolliver broke the 3 point record: https://t.co/8OYipbmLno— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) September 12, 2017
With Kristi Toliver dropping 32 points, it was a bit of a lopsided victory for the Mystics because having a player go off like that basically requires everyone to get her the ball! Which they did, and have several players pitch in, which kept the score out of reach in the second half for the Liberty.
I expect to see Coach Thibault to play his core for more minutes in this second game against Minnesota. Although, if it gets out of hand again, he may opt to put all his eggs in Sunday’s basket, which is the Mystics (first) home game of the series, Sept. 17 at 3:00 P.M., and rest players for that potentially series-clinching contest.
Clearly, the Mystics will need to figure out how to make Sylvia Fowles and Seimone Augustus ‘uncomfortable’. Maya Moore is going to get hers, regardless. If the Mystics can’t keep a body on the two of them, Washington may end up with a similar result — a blowout.
But, if the Mystics can win either of the next two games, it would guarantee them a second home game on September 19 to force a Game four, the time of which would be determined after Game three.
This is a matchup of two former Sky stars who wanted out of Chicago. Some fans may have noted that this is the first series between Sylvia Fowles, who forced a trade to the Lynx back in 2015 from Chicago, and Elena Delle Donne, who did the same thing in 2017.
Despite the two of them both forcing trades from the same team, EDD seems to have drawn more ire from Sky fans than when Fowles left. While it is unclear as to why Sky fans are more angry at Delle Donne, it doesn’t appear that things are going to get any easier for them over the next few seasons. But perhaps this is why.
EDD is on a much younger team than Big Syl, and Washington has the potential to make the semifinals and finals for several years to come. Meanwhile, Fowles is on a Lynx team that’s going to need an infusion of youth somewhere, even though their experience showed last Tuesday.
Talk about the game here
Finally, this space will be our GameThread for the night. This series is an uphill battle, but it will be valuable for the Mystics in the long run. So, Eyes Up, DC Family!