The WNBA playoff semifinals commenced on Sunday afternoon with both teams from a “Washington” pulling off Game 1 victories.
The team from Washington, DC – the Mystics – traveled to Atlanta for its Game 1 matchup against the second-seeded Dream and picked up an 87-84 win.
Behind a 32-point effort via Elena Delle Donne and 15 more from Ariel Atkins, Washington managed the victory in the series opener. Delle Donne also put in 13 rebounds. Natasha Cloud sent out six assists in addition to scoring 13.
As for the Dream, they were the beneficiaries of 19 points from Alex Bentley and 17 courtesy of Tiffany Hayes. Elizabeth Williams chimed in with 15 in addition to 14 rebounds.
At any level of basketball, a close game can come down to who makes more free throws. The Mystics were a perfect 20 out of 20 from the free throw line while the Dream made 16 of their 22 from the charity stripe. Atlanta also committed eight turnovers to only four for the Mystics.
The team from Washington state also fared will in its first semifinal contest. The top-seeded Seattle Storm played a close contest with the Phoenix Mercury and eked out a 91-87 win.
Breanna Stewart, prior to the game, was named the 2018 Most Valuable Player. She played like an MVP in Game 1 against Phoenix, leading her team with 28 points. Natasha Howard added 20, Jewell Loyd finished with 23 and Sue Bird added 10 points and 10 assists.
All but four of the Storm’s points came from their starting five.
On the Mercury’s end of things, DeWanna Bonner scored 27 points and pulled in 13 rebounds. Diana Taurasi scored 25 and Brittney Griner put in 13. Briann January had 10.
Out of Seattle’s 91 points, 22 of them came from points off turnovers.
Both series will resume on Tuesday night.