The Mystics defeated the Dream 87-84 on Sunday in Game 1 of the WNBA Semifinals. Elena Delle Donne led all scorers with 32 points and 13 rebounds while Ariel Atkins added 15 points and Natasha Cloud added 13 more. For the Dream, Alex Bentley scored 19 points off the bench while Tiffany Hayes scored 17 more. With the win, the Mystics now lead the series 1-0 and are two games away from their first Finals appearance.
Washington was in control thanks to threes
The Mystics were behind during spurts in the first quarter though they ended up tying 26 all that period. Washington broke the game open in the second quarter and were leading by double digits for much of the third. Atlanta made their inevitable comeback in the fourth quarter by playing very physical and making a late run with a minute left, but Washington did just enough earlier in the contest to keep the game from getting more interesting than it was.
Washington only shot 38.9 percent from the field today. That’s low. But they also made 11 of 26 threes (42.3 percent) which is very good. If the threes weren’t falling, the Dream would have probably won this game.
Ball movement could have been better for both teams
The Dream only dished 11 assists all game. That’s very low since other point guards like Courtney Vandersloot, Sue Bird, and Diana Taurasi can dish more dimes than that when they feel like it.
The Mystics only dished 15 team assists themselves, so it’s important for them to focus a bit more on moving the ball to the open woman in most circumstances. Fortunately for Washington, they only committed four turnovers all game. Atlanta also committed just eight. Sure, that’s more than the Mystics, but usually teams commit at least 10 within the normal course of a 40 minute game.
The rotation scoring needs to improve
Eight players came on the floor for the Mystics. Of the three reserves who played: Tianna Hawkins, Aerial Powers, and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, only Hawkins scored. In fact, Hawkins scored 11 and was a nice boost from the bench.
TRP has never been known for scoring bunches of points so I’m not surprised if she is scoreless any given night. But Powers has been an efficient wing over the course of her career so shooting 0 for 4 is disappointing.Fortunately, the Dream only played seven players in Game 1, so the Mystics should consider themselves lucky.
Game 2 is on Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST in Atlanta. Let’s get one more win before Friday!