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WNBA Finals 2018: Five storylines to follow in the Mystics vs. Storm series

Seattle Storm v Phoenix Mercury - Game Three Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Mystics will play the Storm in the 2018 WNBA Finals which begin Friday night. Here are some interesting storylines to follow:

  1. The Mystics will go for their first WNBA title in their first Finals appearance - The Mystics are best known in the WNBA as a perennial bottom feeder that considers mediocrity a success. After all, they only had one 20-win regular season before this year. Now, they tied a franchise best 22 wins AND advanced to the Finals in an exciting series against the Dream.
  2. The Mystics match up well against Seattle with their starting lineups - The Storm are led by franchise point guard Sue Bird who plays alongside Jewell Loyd in the backcourt. The Mystics have their own All-Star point guard in Kristi Toliver and do-it-all backcourt mate Natasha Cloud. Both the Mystics and Storm have strong defenders who can shoot from beyond the arc in Ariel Atkins and Alysha Clark, respectively. Mystics center LaToya Sanders and Storm center Natasha Howard are lanky at the five but are crafty scorers and defenders. And the power forward matchup will be epic with Elena Delle Donne and Breanna Stewart going at each other every game.
  3. Washington and Seattle both have strong rookie talent - Finals teams are generally veteran laden and experienced. But both the Mystics and Storm have rookies who made their impact early on. The Mystics have an All-Defensive team member in Atkins, but Seattle’s first round pick Jordin Canada has played considerable minutes as well this season playing behind Bird at the point guard position where she averaged 5.7 points per game. Canada’s shooting percentage can improve some, but she has shown her moments for Seattle throughout the regular season.
  4. One of the Mystics’ all-time greats is now “with the enemy” - Crystal Langhorne was the Storm’s starting center from 2014-17 and now plays behind Howard. Before going to the Storm, Langhorne played six seasons with the Mystics from 2008-13 and made two All-Star teams.
  5. Two of the WNBA’s best coaches without a championship face off - Mike Thibault is the WNBA’s leader in regular season coaching wins while Storm head coach Dan Hughes is not far behind. However, neither have won a championship. Hughes has the upper hand given the superstar talent he has on the roster but Thibault is generally regarded as the better all-around coach. The coaching battle will be just as epic as the players’ efforts for sure.