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2018 WNBA Finals: Mystics vs. Storm Preview

2018 WNBA Finals: Mystics vs. Storm Preview

For the first time in franchise history, the Washington Mystics are in the WNBA Finals.

Behind Elena Delle Donne, Kristi Toliver, and Ariel Atkins, Washington is flying high in the postseason. After defeating the Los Angeles Sparks in a one-game second-round playoff, the Mystics defeated the Atlanta Dream 3-2 in a best of five WNBA semifinal series.

Their opponent is the league-best Seattle Storm, who are looking for their third championship in 15 seasons. Led by the legend Sue Bird and 2018 MVP Breanna Stewart, they continue to show why Seattle has been the team to beat all season. 

2018 WNBA Finals: Mystics vs. Storm Preview

Mystics vs. Storm Schedule:

Game 1: Friday, Sept. 7 at Seattle (Key Arena). 9:00 pm ET. ESPNews
Game 2: Sunday, Sept. 9 at Seattle (Key Arena). 3:30 pm ET. ABC
Game 3: Wednesday, Sept. 12 at Washington (EagleBank Arena). 8:00 pm ET. ESPN2
Game 4 (if necessary): Friday, Sept. 14 at Washington (EagleBank Arena). 8:00 pm ET. ESPN2
Game 5 (if necessary): Sunday, Sept. 16 at Seattle (Key Arena). 8:00 pm  ET. ESPN2

Mystics vs. Storm Season History:

Seattle Storm: 26-8 overall (No. 1 seed). 13-4 at home. 13-4 on the road
Washington Mystics: 22-12 overall (No. 3 seed). 12-5 at home. 10-7 on the road

Seattle won the season series 2-1
May 29: Storm 81, Mystics 77 in Seattle
July 8: Storm 97, Mystics 91 in Seattle
August 9: Mystics 100, Storm 77 in Washington

Mystics vs. Storm Players to Watch:

WASHINGTON MYSTICS

Head Coach: Mike Thibault

1. Elena Delle Donne, F, 6-5 (21.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 3.6 apg): As the team's leader in scoring and rebounding, the heartbeat of this squad is Delle Donne. Unfortunately, she is not at full strength after going down in Game 2 with a bone bruise. Since her return, she is averaging 14.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg in two games. 

2. Kristi Toliver, G, 5-7 (13.8 ppg, 5.0 apg, 1.5 spg): If there is anyone that has been here before for the Mystics, it would be Toliver who won a championship with the Sparks back in 2016. In Game 4 (22 points) and Game 5 (19 points), the nine-year veteran stepped up in huge ways for the Mystics.

3. Ariel Atkins, G, 5-11 (15.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.8 apg): What a run it has been for the rookie in her first postseason. Atkins has scored 14 points in five of the team's six games in the playoffs and has been an integral part of the roster. Without her, the Mystics are not in the Finals.

SEATTLE STORM

Head Coach: Dan Hughes

1. Breanna Stewart, F, 6-4, (24.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.4 bpg): Similar to Delle Donne, Stewart brings the same elements to the court. Like her counterpart she led the Storm in scoring and rebounding during 2018, helping guide the team to a 26-8 regular season record. This is only her third season in the league and has scored 22 points or more in four of the team's five playoff games.

2. Sue Bird, G, 5-9 (11.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 6.8 apg): Even though she is well past her prime, Bird is still a threat to go off for the Storm. In a winner-take-all Game 5 she had 5 3pters and 22 points. If successful, she is looking to lead Seattle to their third championship since she has been with the team.

3. Natasha Howard, F, 6-3 (14.0 ppg, 6.8 ppg, 1.4 spg): It has been quite the breakthrough year for the former Minnesota Lynx. In her first season as a starter, she is a lock for the Storm next to Stewart. 

Mystics vs. Storm Storylines

1. Three Huskies vs. the one that got away: Seattle has three former Connecticut Huskies: Sue Bird (1998-2002) Breanna Stewart (2012-2016), and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (2011-2015). There could have been a fourth Huskie in this matchup, but Delle Donne decided that UConn was not the right fit after two days of classes before the start of the 2008-09 season. From there she went on to be a two-time All-American at Delaware and was selected second in the 2013 WNBA draft. Think Geno Auriemma is watching?

2. Terp vs. Terp: There are five former Maryland Terrapins playing in the 2018 WNBA Finals. Two of them know each other quite well as Kristi Toliver and Crystal Langhorne both played on the National Championship team back in 2006. It is not the first time these two have squared off, but there has never been so much on the line.

3. District of Champions: First it was the Washington Capitals on ice, then it was the Washington Valor in Arena Football. Can the Mystics give D.C. the summer championship trifecta?

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Kevin Durant creating a documentary on why so many NBA players come from Prince George's County

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Kevin Durant creating a documentary on why so many NBA players come from Prince George's County

Still recovering from a long rehab process after rupturing his Achilles in the NBA Finals last year, the way Kevin Durant is spending his time may spark the interest of basketball fans all around the DMV area. 

The Sports Business Journal reported Durant is creating a documentary focusing on the prominence of basketball stars raised in Prince George's County and is "putting the finishing touches" on the project. 

Durant's Thirty Five Ventures has the documentary, called "In the Water", listed as still in development on its website. With players like Durant, University of Maryland legend Len Bias, and Pacers all-star guard Victor Oladipo all coming from the same place, this will surely be a must-watch. 

Markelle Fultz, Jeff Green, Quinn Cook, and Ty Lawson are also some of the better known local products to make it in the NBA. The documentary will air on Showtime. 

"This is a project that really looks at the roots of why that is societally and culturally," Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza told Sports Business Journal. 

Some of Thirty Five Ventures' other projects include ESPN+'s "The Boardroom" starring Durant and Jay Williams, Still KD, and more. Co-founded with manager Rich Kleiman, the company also has a diverse portfolio that includes investments into companies like food delivery service Postmates and the sports network Overtime. 

Although Durant has repeatedly said he won't be playing for his hometown Wizards during the past few free agency periods, he has done quite a bit to shine some light on the local community's success. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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Looking back at the top moments in Wizards All-Star Weekend history

Looking back at the top moments in Wizards All-Star Weekend history

The Wizards sent three representatives to 2020 NBA All-Star Chicago in Rui Hachimura, Moritz Wagner and Davis Bertans. The three young big men will join a long list of D.C. greats that have performed exceptionally well during All-Star Weekend history.

John Wall wins the 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest

John Wall was the last All-Star to win the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. In 2014, Wall competed in a revamped format of the Dunk Contest with a freestyle round followed by a battle round. Wall was voted Dunker of the Night.

Javale McGee gets snubbed in the 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest

McGee came in second place in the 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, losing the fan vote to then-Clippers star Blake Griffin. McGee 

Tim Legler wins 1996 Three-Point Contest

Legler is the only Wizard/Bullet to win the Three-Point Shootout. Legler defeated Orlando Magic guard Dennis Scott in the final round of the shootout back in 1996. Legler announced that he almost missed the contest due to the birth of his daughter. After consulting with his wife, she insisted he participate, and they induced labor a week before All-Star Weekend. He dedicated the contest to his newborn and put forward the winning prize money toward her college fund.

Dave Bing named 1976 All-Star Game MVP

Bullets star Dave Bing won MVP in the final All-Star Game of his career. Bing is the only Wizard/Bullet in the franchise's history to be named All-Star Game MVP. He shot 7-of-11 from the floor and scored 16 points.

John Wall named MVP of 2011 Rising Stars Challenge

Wall brought home the hardware during his first Rising Stars Challenge, scoring 12 points and dishing out 22 assists to lead the rookies past a star-studded sophomore squad that included Stephen Curry and James Harden. 

Gilbert Arenas reaches the 2007 Three-Point Contest finals

Arenas competed in the Three-Point Contest in 2006 and 2007 as a member of the Wizards. He came in second place in his first go-round, falling to Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, and lost to Heat sharpshooter Jason Kapono in 2007.

Bradley Beal reaches the 2014 Three-Point Contest finals

Beal reached the final round of the shootout in 2014 but narrowly lost to Spurs guard Marco Belinelli, 24-18.

Davis Bertans reaches the 2020 Three-Point Contest finals

The Latvian Laser held his own in his first-ever Three-Point Contest. Bertans swept his money ball rack and ended up making seven in a row to earn himself a spot in the final round where he eventually lost to Kings' sharpshooter Buddy Hield.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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