Connecticut Sun, Washington Mystics will meet in 2019 WNBA Finals

Photo Credit: Jesse Johnson/USA Today Sports

In the 2019 WNBA semifinals, the beasts of the east outlasted the best from the west and now we will see an all-northeast WNBA Finals starting Sunday in the nation’s capital.

The two-seeded Connecticut Sun held its end of the bargain by sweeping the Los Angeles Sparks in its semifinal contest. The Sun entered its tilt with the Sparks as the underdog given a whole host of factors including facing off against an LA squad that is battle-tested in September.

Connecticut noticed the #disrespeCT coming from many a W pundit – and made them eat their words with their play on the court.

The location of the Sun’s Game 3 on the road at the Sparks still baffles the mind – Long Beach State University instead of Staples Center. The result of that contest was in little doubt, particularly after Connecticut outscored Los Angeles 23-12 in the third quarter.

In that series-decider, Jasmine Thomas led the way with 29 points. Courtney Williams finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds and Jonquel Jones added eight rebounds to the Sun’s efforts.

For the Sparks, Nneka Ogwumike had 17 points and six rebounds, but the rest of the Sparks were held in single-digits for points by the Sun’s defense – including Candace Parker, Chiney Ogwumike, Alana Beard and Chelsea Gray. Granted, Parker was on the bench for much of the final game, prompting questions from many for as to why Derek Fisher is even the Sparks’ coach.

The final score was 78-56.

The first game of Sparks-Sun was relatively close, and Los Angeles had a 40-37 lead at the half at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville. In spite of shooting only 56% from the free throw line to Los Angeles’ 71%, Four players (all starters) for Connecticut having double-digit point nights played a major part in the team’s Game 1 triumph at home.

In that one, Alyssa Thomas led with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Jasmine Thomas contributed 19 points and eight rebounds. Jones had 16 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Williams finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

For Los Angeles in Game One, 44 of the Sparks points were via Parker (24) and Ogwumike (20). Each also had 10 rebounds and Parker also added six blocks.

It was in Game 2 where every WNBA prognosticator had to eat crow regarding the result of this series when Connecticut opened up a 94-68 victory for a 2-0 series lead en route to the west coast.

One probably would not think the Sun would make such a dominating statement against the Sparks if one judged by the first quarter when Los Angeles led 22-15. After that, it was all Sun all the time, including outscoring the Sparks 53-28 in the second half. When this one was over, it was clear there would be a different result than what was predicted.

Jones had 27 points and 13 rebounds. Williams added 25 points and six assists. Alyssa Thomas scored 12 and brought down 13 rebounds. Rachel Banham came off the bench with 11 points.

Nneka Ogwumike had 18 points and seven rebounds. Riquna Williams added 14 and Chelsea Gray scored 10 along with five assists.

As for the Mystics, #TogetherDC will continue for the second consecutive year into the WNBA Finals. Washington was swept by the Seattle Storm last year and the Mystics will look to exercise last year’s demons after defeating the Las Vegas Aces in a hard-fought four-game contest.

The Mystics defeated the Aces in four by defeating Las Vegas by four as Washington’s 94-90 victory was what got the Mystics to a second consecutive Finals.

In any contest, it is expected that Elena Delle Donne, this season’s MVP would get her buckets. She had 25 points and six rebounds in Game 4, but a huge story was Emma Meesseman off the bench. In 25 minutes of play, she scored 22 points, made all of her 3-point attempts and was nine of 14 from the field.

Also in 36 minutes of play, Kristi Toliver scored 20 points and Natasha Cloud was one assist shy of a double-double with nine assists and 11 points. She also hauled in six rebounds.

Liz Cambage, a focal point of attention for much of this series, brought in 12 rebounds and scored 25 points. Kelsey Plum scored 17 and sent out five assists. Off the bench, Dearica Hamby had 18 points and Tamera Young added 17 to Vegas’ efforts. A’ja Wilson also had six rebounds despite only four points.

In order to even get the series to a Game 4, Las Vegas had to win a Game 3 after dropping both contests in Washington. The Aces did just that by virtue of their 92-75 win over the Mystics when the series shifted out to Nevada.

Las Vegas outscored Washington in both the second (24-13) and third (32-25) quarters. Cambage’s 28 points and six rebounds, Wilson’s 21 points and eight rebounds, McBride’s 18 points and seven rebounds, Hamby’s 10 points and Plum’s nine rebounds all equaled an extension of the series to a Game 4.

Delle Donne scored 22 points and brought in six rebounds and also rejected four shots. Meesseman also had eight rebounds. Toliver also added 14 off the bench and Aerial Powers also added 13 points off the bench.

One of the things that makes Mike Thibault’s Mystics such a tough out for any opponent is that they present such a potent offense. That potent offense was a big story for Washington at home in Games 1 and 2.

That offense was nearly matched by Las Vegas nearly point for point, but the Mystics were one bucket better than the Aces in the series opener as they took a 1-0 series lead by virtue of a 97-95 victory.

A total of 51 of those 97 came from Meesseman (27) and Delle Donne (24). Meesseman also had 10 rebounds and Delle Donne added six assists. Natasha Cloud also had 12 points.

Wilson led Las Vegas with 23 points and seven rebounds. Cambage and Kayla McBride had 19 points each with Cambage also adding 12 rebounds. Plum had herself a game with 16 points, nine assists and seven rebounds off the bench.

Winning playoff series in any sport is not easy, but one way to do so is to take care of home. Just as Connecticut did against Los Angeles, the Mystics claimed Game 2 at the DC Entertainment and Sports Arena when they defeated the Aces 103-91.

Meesseman scored 30 and was five out of seven from 3-points. She also had six rebounds. Natasha Cloud scored 18 along with 11 assists.

LaToya Sanders scored 17 points and also got in six rebounds. Delle Donne scored 14 with 10 rebounds. Toliver and Powers each scored 10.
Cambage scored 23 along with 10 rebounds. Plum had 19 points in addition to 10 assists. Jackie Young scored 13 and Tamera Young scored 10.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *