The Washington Mystics had the upper hand to pull out a major upset, but lost after blowing a fourth quarter lead at the buzzer to the Phoenix Mercury, 85-84 on Tuesday night in the first round of the 2020 WNBA Playoffs.
In the first half, Washington was able to work their way to a double digit lead, up 46-35 after holding the Mercury to a subpart shooting performance in the first 20 minutes.
This lead held up in the second half until the Mercury went on a 16-3 run to start the fourth quarter to take a 75-73 lead with just under five minutes left in regulation when Skylar Diggins-Smith made a go-ahead three.
Diana Taurasi made another three for Phoenix just half a minute later to extend the lead to 78-73 when the Mystics called a timeout.
Washington was able to get back to a 83-82 lead when Emma Meesseman made a layup with just 38.8 seconds and Leilani Mitchell made a free throw to give Washington an 84-82 lead.
Until Shey Peddy, who started the 2020 season with Washington, drained this buzzer beating three to give Phoenix the win and a second round playoff match. Peddy scored 12 points in the win.
For the Mystics, Mitchell scored 25 points while Emma Meesseman added 18 more. For the Mercury, Diggins-Smith led with 25 points and Taurasi aded 24 more.
The Mystics were never expected to seriously contend for the 2020 championship after losing numerous starters from last year’s team. However, the team played poorly and the results showed in the middle of the season.
But through it all, Washington was able to get on a four game winning streak just to make the playoffs. And to a good extent, that’s really what this Mystics team needed to do, especially with the Dallas Wings holding their rights to their 2021 first round pick.
We will discuss more on the 2020 Washington Mystics season in the coming days as they enter a big offseason. But for now, let’s reminisce the successes of the 2020 team as they are. Though the Mystics won’t make the Finals this year, they still were able to make things interesting later in the season.