The Mystics and Storm faced off for the first time since the Storm swept the 2018 WNBA finals. Unlike last year, the Mystics came into the game with their roster reasonably complete and healthy, while the Storm were missing MVP Breanna Stewart and future Hall of Famer Sue Bird.
Despite a first quarter ejection for Kristi Toliver (more on that below) D.C. controlled the game comfortably through three quarters. But the Mystics went ice cold in the fourth quarter, and Mercedes Russell shredded their interior defense to fuel a Seattle run.
Natasha Howard tied the game with less than a minute remaining. Natasha Cloud turned the ball over on the next possession, and Howard found Loyd for a jumper to give the Storm the lead with 7.7 seconds to go. The Mystics failed to score in the final possession, and the Storm won 74-71. It was also their first loss at the new Entertainment and Sports Arena in Congress Heights, D.C.
- Aerial Powers stepped up — With Kristi Toliver out for most of the game, there was an increased pressure on Powers, a natural forward, to handle the ball and create offense. Powers rose to the challenge with 16 points. She also chipped in 2 assists and five boards, and she was the only player for the Mystics who could reliably hit from deep.
- Elena Delle Donne led the Mystics with 19 points, but shot just 7-of-22 from the floor — Delle Donne looked strong in the first half, finding her moments within a pass-happy Mystics offense and reaching double digits in the first quarter, but in the second half everything fell apart and her slow start appears to continue. Delle Donne doesn’t deserve all the blame - the entire team lacked composure in the final stretch - but Delle Donne dictates the Mystics ceiling. Today that ceiling was low.
- Ariel Atkins’ up and down offensive season continues — Atkins came into the league as a defensive prodigy with the tools to be a swiss army knife on both ends of the floor. While her sophomore season has been punctuated with scoring impressive highs, she’s also struggled to consistently make her presence felt on offense. Tonight was one of those nights, with Atkins scoring a quiet 7 points (her defense remains superb, of course).
- Seattle’s Jordin Canada left the game in the second quarter after landing on her knee. She did not return to play the second half.
- Kristi Toliver was ejected early — The Mystics point guard received her second technical foul of the game on a somewhat questionable call with 31 seconds to go in the first quarter. She received her first technical came about 7 minutes prior to that.
kristi toliver just got ejected (second tech) for uhhh doing this? pic.twitter.com/imf0V2A6zo— jack (@jackhaveitall) June 14, 2019
What else you should know
- The only Mystics player available to the media before and after the game was Natasha Cloud, who would only answer questions about gun violence in DC. Read more about Cloud’s activism here.
Ack sorry, not a statement about the game - statement of course focused on gun violence in DC. One statement *after* the game https://t.co/xHHqCZ7WlT— Ava Wallace (@avarwallace) June 15, 2019
- The Mystics head to Los Angeles to take on the Sparks on Tuesday, June 18. The game will air on CBS Sports Network, Monumental, and Spectrum SportsNet at 10:30 p.m. ET.