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Mystics to host Wings in the first round of the playoffs

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meesseman 2016 Stewart W. Small

The 2017 WNBA season has concluded. The Mystics are the sixth seed in the WNBA Playoffs with an 18-16 record. They had the same record as the Phoenix Mercury, but they lost the tiebreaker in the regular season.

Washington will host the seventh seeded Dallas Wings in the first round of the playoffs. Unlike the NBA Playoffs, the WNBA Playoffs ignore conference standings, and it is a single elimination tournament until the WNBA semifinals which consist of best-of-five series.

Game Info

Where and When: Wednesday, September 6, 2017, 8 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena

TV/Streaming: ESPN2

Regular season results against the Wings: (1-2)

  • June 6, Mystics won 101-89 on the road
  • June 18, Mystics lost 87-83 at home
  • August 26, Mystics lost 83-78 at home

Facts on the Wings

  • The Wings have won three WNBA championships in league history - They did so in 2003, 2006, and 2008 under Bill Laimbeer’s first stint as a WNBA head coach. At the time, the team was known as the Detroit Shock. The Shock moved to Tulsa in the 2010 season, where it remained until the 2016 season when they relocated again to Dallas.
  • Wings President and GM Greg Bibb has major ties with the D.C. area - Bibb’s first stint with women’s basketball was with the Mystics, where he was from 2008 to 2012. While with the Mystics, Bibb oversaw business operations but also served as the executive who coaches and GM’s reported to at the time. Bibb was also the first business operations head of the Wizards from 2010-2012 when Ted Leonsis bought the remaining shares of the team. While in Dallas, he re-signed franchise player Skylar Diggins (now Diggins-Smith) and kept much of the same core from their time in Tulsa.
  • Both teams didn’t make the playoffs last year - This is the first year that both the Mystics and Wings will be facing each other in the WNBA’s new playoff format.

Who wins?

Hate to say it, but I think the Wings will beat the Mystics in a tightly fought game. Forgive me for being pessimistic or “giving the reverse jinx,” but there are two reasons for this:

The Mystics lost six of their last eight games - Furthermore, Washington couldn’t beat a single team who made the playoffs in regulation in that same time span. The Mystics have limped into the playoffs and that makes me nervous.

This team has been a hodge podge unit all year - The Mystics had several different versions of themselves. From May until June, they were the unit run by Elena Delle Donne and Tayler Hill, both of whom were firing on most cylinders early one.

Then in July, both of them got hurt. But Emma Meesseman came back from Europe so it became her show while Kristi Toliver came into form for much of the next month and a half. Now, the Mystics are still trying to figure out how a Delle Donne and Meesseman front court will work themselves out.

Unfortunately because of EuroBasket Women and injuries, this never truly came into fruition. Meanwhile, the Wings’ top players (Skylar Diggins-Smith, Glory Johnson, Allisha Gray, Karima Christmas-Kelly, Theresa Plaisance) have been healthy all season long.

Well, why could the Mystics win then?

First, I’ve made plenty of bad predictions before. This is just one game and we don’t know how everyone’s going to be until this game is played.

But if there’s something that the Mystics have that the Wings don’t, it’s that they’ll have the best player on the court AND they have a bit more substantial playoff experience in my opinion. The Mystics have made the playoffs every year in Mike Thibault’s tenure minus last season. The Wings on the other hand couldn’t sniff the postseason despite having a lot of high draft picks except for the 2015 season when they were in Tulsa.

Also, consider this: Delle Donne and Meesseman still make up one hell of a frontcourt. They have put up some monster numbers together in the last couple weeks. Perhaps it can all come together in this next critical game.

And finally, the Mystics will play at home in front of their fans. The Wings won’t. Washington was 11-6 at home this season, so that’s another thing that can swing in their favor.