The Washington Mystics take on the New York Liberty in round two of the WNBA Playoffs, Sunday at 5:00 P.M. ET on ESPN2.
Frankly, let’s get down to brass tacks. Records are out the door.
Most people did not think that the Mystics would get by the Dallas Wings in round one. For good reason, the Mystics had not proven in the regular season that they could with-stand a ‘punch’ - literally and figuratively - and not blow a game.
They blew huge leads against the Connecticut Sun, 22 points ahead, and against the LA Sparks, a 17 point lead, during the season.
What impressed me about the win over Dallas was the fact that they came out swinging from the jump.
At the end of 1Q Mystics up 18-12 : D— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) September 7, 2017
KRYSTAL SEVEN Reb! pic.twitter.com/GvghDcVpxO
This was one hundred percent by design. It is no secret that Dallas has an ‘emotional’ component, rather than composure, that gets the best of them frequently.
The Mystics were ready. There were elbows thrown, smacks, Technicals, a fight; the Wings brought it all, and the Mystics were up for it.
Especially Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, who was not backing down from anyone, and showed amazing composure, in what could have been something egregious, easily.
1. TRP's not gonna get disrespected. 2. Glory Johnson stepped her right leg out in TRP's way at the end of the GIF. pic.twitter.com/HQTGjYCRwF— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) September 7, 2017
Although, the physicality did have a price: Elena Delle Donne was peeved about the stitches she got right before her wedding.
Who can blame her??
Elena Delle Donne doesn’t want to get a chin scar before her wedding https://t.co/5J8wWiGO9m— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) September 7, 2017
In the game against the Liberty on June 29, without Meesseman, the Mystics had 33 rebounds to N.Y.’s 46.
On July 16, the Mystics got it handed to them by the Liberty, 85-55. Again, this time without EDD, the Mystics grabbed 30 rebounds to N.Y.’s 46.
The Mystics big three: EDD, Meesse and Krystal Thomas, had 38 rebounds combined of the total 52, 73 percent, against Dallas. Big difference that is trending up.
The New York Liberty are fully aware of this. So it leaves the door wide open for the remaining Mystics to show-out in Madison Square Garden.
Just like Allison Hightower did against the Seattle Storm!
Let's talk about the Playoffs and unsung heroes!— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) September 8, 2017
Allison Hightower w the sick handle and spin for the Bucket
: D pic.twitter.com/SlkCEXjoW0
And Shatori Walker-Kimbrough has definitely brought the intensity throughout her rookie campaign. Washington will need her speed and off the ball movement that has to be the main ingredients of her doing so well this year, off the bench and as a starter.
What is also understated, is the fact that Emma Meesseman had five assists in the last game against Dallas.
The criticism of her last four years has squarely been placed upon her ‘pass-ive’ playing. Nice to see it is coming to fruition.
Toughness, rebounding and chemistry provided the perfect recipe for the Mystics in round one. Can they do the same thing in N.Y. against the Liberty?
The last time the Mystics were in Madison Square Garden for a Playoff game One, in 2015, they won the game, 86-83, in double over-time! It was a thriller!