WASHINGTON — A regular season finale that took place after Washington Mystics guard, Aerial Powers, thanked the packed crowd at the Entertainment and Sports Arena for their sustained support throughout the entire season, ended just as you’d expect.
Another Mystics W, 100-86.
The last time these two teams faced off, the Chicago Sky completed a surprising upset of the league’s best squad. It was the first time the Mystics allowed 85+ points in nine games, losing 78-85. The lackluster defensive performance caused head coach Mike Thibault to “take things back to basics,” and reiterate the importance of communication on defense.
After coach’s pep talk, the Mystics rattled off six straight victories to take the best team in franchise history into the postseason.
“It’s a nice way to finish the season,” Thibault said. “Our goal was to be on an upward trend to finish the season, and when you’ve won 16 of your last 18 games I guess you could call that an upward trend.”
Everything was pretty much smooth sailing until the third quarter when the Sky outscored the Stics, 24-18. However, the squad managed to weather the storm late and keep coach Thibault’s blood pressure moderately reasonable.
“We were good until we started fouling,” Thibault said. “This is a team we may see in the playoffs, we’ve got to iron out the little things.”
In typical Mystics fashion, they continued to make history in a game that at this point merely counts as an exhibition. They topped the 95-point plateau for the 13th time this season, and surpassed the century mark for the 14th time since the 2017 season — Washington has the most 100+ point games in that span.
A huge (understatement) contributor to that continued offensive prowess is Mystics Captain, and league MVP (according to her teammates), Elena Delle Donne.
“We won’t be happy unless we have a championship,” EDD said. “It’s that simple.”
Aerial Powers, on the other hand, had a little more to add to the simplistic answer given by Elena.
“Have you seen her numbers!” Powers exclaimed. “She [Elena] goes out and produces every single game. She can do everything but what solidifies her as the MVP is that she makes people around her better.”
“When you can play with someone that makes you better it’s a wonderful thing.”
Delle Donne finished the night with 25 points on 75 percent shooting (9-for-12) and grabbed 12 rebounds. This was her 15th time this season tallying 20+ points in a game. Voted the preseason MVP favorite, receiving 42 percent of the GM votes, her performance tonight could very well solidify that assertion.
Her teammates aren’t the only ones who believe she’s the league’s Most Valuable Player. After the final buzzer sounded, when fans typically funnel out to beat arena traffic as quickly as possible, those in attendance, without being prompted, broke out into ‘M-V-P’ chants for about a minute.
The atmosphere inside of ESA was chilling.
“It was a special moment,” Delle Donne said. “I absolutely love this city and there’s nowhere else in this world I’d rather be.
Due to their regular season dominance, the Mystics earned themselves a double-bye and are slated to play either the Minnesota Lynx, Las Vegas Aces, or Seattle Storm in the semifinals on Tuesday, September 17th.
Phase three of ‘run it back,’ has officially commenced. See you in two weeks.
MORE MYSTICS NEWS:
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- In Form: Meesseman and Mystics grab No. 1 seed
- MVP Habits: Derrius Guice sports EDD's mask