The Big Twenty

The Big Twenty: The Mystics win the 2019 WNBA championship

The Big Twenty

Not all championships are equal.

Every title tale has its own unique wrinkle that differentiates their story from those that preceded it and the ones that will eventually follow.

The Washington Mystics 2019 WNBA Championship had its own nuances that will likely never receive the same attention of the other DC championships.

But let’s make it clear, the Mystics championship was far different than the Capitals' Stanley Cup Championship in 2018 and the Nationals' World Series title that occurred concurrently.

Unlike the Capitals, the Mystics were not a team that had a decade of success that was yearning to breakthrough. Unlike the Nationals, they were not an underdog, where the team had overcome obstacle after obstacle and break through walls to get to the title.

The Mystics were just good – check that – historically exceptional when they won the franchise’s first championship. They weren’t just a championship team, they shattered records and re-defined how the game is played in the WNBA.

No team could get in their way.

They were led by one of the best basketball players in the world in Elena Delle Donne. Who, despite having to wear a knee brace, a face mask and wrap around her back for three separate injuries, won the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player award en route to her first league title. While doing so, she also finished the year as a member of the elite 50-40-90 club (field goal, 3-point and free throw percentages) that only eight other basketball players, men or women, have accomplished in a single season.

 

But the rest of the roster is how they won the championship. Kristi Toliver brought the championship pedigree, Natasha Cloud brought the swag, Ariel Atkins and Aerial Powers brought the youthful energy.

Emma Meesseman, the original Mystic of the entire group (and arguably the second-best player on the team), came off the bench.

Their coach Mike Thibault was one of the most accomplished in WNBA history.

What they accomplished a year removed from falling short in the WNBA Finals was staggering. ‘Run it Back’ was their motto, but it was a stampede on their path to glory.

Here’s just a sample of their record-breaking year:

  • 13 victories by 20 points or more (WNBA record)
  • Eight victories by 25 points or more (WNBA record)
  • Beat the Connecticut Sun by 43 points (4th largest margin of victory ever)
  • 316 3-pointers made (WNBA record)
  • 89.3 points per game (3rd best all-time)
  • 21.8 assists per game (WNBA record)
  • Offensive rating of 113.2 (WNBA record)

There are more, but the point has been made. There are not enough words to describe how dominant this Mystics team was.