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Mystics vs. Sun Game 5 preview: The season is a failure if Washington doesn’t win the title

2019 WNBA Finals - Game Four
I hate to say it this early, but Emma Meesseman is probably not playing in the WNBA next season. She may never play again in the WNBA if the Mystics lose on Thursday.
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Washington Mystics lost to the Connecticut Sun on Thursday in Game 5 of the 2019 WNBA Finals. If the Mystics win, they are WNBA champions. If not, then the season is a failure. Here’s the game info and more.

Game Info

When: Thursday Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, DC

How to watch: ESPN2

What to watch for

I think everything’s obvious at this point. The Mystics will either be WNBA champions or they will be runner ups for the second straight year. But it goes further than that.

The Mystics really, REALLY need to start Emma Meesseman in Game 5. She is the primary reason why the Mystics were able to go to the Finals instead of losing to the Aces in five games, which I honestly thought would happen when the WNBA semifinals series went to five games.

Who cares if Elena Delle Donne is the emotional leader of the team? She isn’t 100 percent. Neither is Kristi Toliver. Meesseman is the insurance policy who kept this playoff run going in the first place. She is the team’s leading scorer in the playoffs, yet fans and NBA2K think she’s “just a reserve.”

It all goes much further than this season, though.

I don’t think Meesseman views the WNBA as an essential part to her resumé like the average American, like me would. If she comes off the bench, plays her 20-25 minutes, only to see the Mystics lose to the Connecticut Sun in Game 5, it’s the final nail in the coffin for her to leave the WNBA for good after this season.

This is the last season Meesseman has with her sophomore contract before she enters unrestricted free agency after this season. If the Mystics aren’t going to treat her like a necessary piece to the point where they will start her in a do or die game, why should Meesseman reciprocate?

My heart tells me to go with my gut and say Mystics in five. But the Mystics under Mike Thibault have been very stubborn with certain rotations, even when we know they should otherwise change, in particular in Game 4 when Meesseman should have played MUCH MORE than she did.

If the Mystics can’t win Game 5 and stick with the current gameplan of holding Meesseman back like they have for TOO LONG, then it’s clear to me that there will need to be a major overhaul after this season if the Mystics lose. Maybe that means a change in leadership. I just don’t know.

It really pains me to possibly beat the drum to fire Mike Thibault starting Thursday. But at the same time, the Mystics should have won last Tuesday, and they didn’t put Meesseman in a situation to help them seal the deal comfortably IF she started instead.

Either way, I just hope the Mystics win Game 5 by all means necessary. Again, Meesseman, not Delle Donne is the key to the title, so let’s give her the chance to do JUST THAT! Otherwise, we’re just giving all Europeans and other non-Americans a reason to leave the league when CBA negotiations start in a few weeks.