Wednesday night is do-or-die time in the WNBA Finals for the Washington Mystics. The Mystics, who trail two games to none in a best-of-five series to the Seattle Storm, face elimination if they can't rally for Game 3 played at home at George Mason University's Eagle Bank Arena in Fairfax, Va.
The Mystics have never made it to the WNBA Finals in their short 20-year history. The Seattle Storm, however, is making their third appearance in the WNBA Finals. The other two appearances resulted in championships in 2004 and 2010.
The best-of-five series has been dominated by the Storm. Despite a last-ditch attempt to come back in the fourth quarter of Game 2, the Mystics missed every single 3-pointer, which ultimately cost them the game.
Elena Delle Donne, who suffered a bone bruise during Game 2 of the WNBA semifinals vs. the Atlanta Dream, ditched the knee brace that seemed to limit her in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals for a knee sleeve in Game 2, and the results were apparent. Delle Donne's 17 points in Game 2 bests her 10-point performance during the entirety of Game 1.
Washington will need to shut down Seattle's Breanna Stewart, the 2017 WNBA MVP and who led the Storm with 25 points in Game 2, if they want to have a chance of extending the series to a Game 4 and 5.
Mystics vs. Storm Game 3 Preview
How to Watch Mystics vs. Storm Game 3
What: 2018 WNBA Playoffs, Finals (Game 3)
Where: Eagle Bank Arena, George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.
When: 8:00 p.m. ET. Wednesday, September 12
TV Channel: ESPN2
3 Things to Know
From the Land of 3
In Game 2 vs. the Seattle Storm, the Mystics shot 0-16 from three-point range. In the regular season, Washington was third in three-point FGM/GM (8.4). The Mystics are averaging 6.8 three-pointers FGM/GM this postseason.
Taking the Lead
The Mystics had a five-point lead in Game 2. That's the biggest lead Washington has had in the entire series after only having a one-point lead early in the first quarter in Game 1.
3 Things to Watch
Playing in the Paint
After giving up 50 points in the paint in Game 1, the Mystics controlled the paint in Game 2 and only allowed 26 points. In fact, Washington won the battle in the paint 38-26 after losing 50-32 in Game 1.
After 13 turnovers in Game 1, Washington only turned the ball over seven times in Game 2. However five turnovers came in the fourth quarter. Conversely, after Seattle only turned the ball over 10 times in Game 1, that total jumped to 15 in Game 2.
Bounce Back Game for Atkins
After scoring a career playoff high 23 points (10-14 FG) vs. Storm in Game 1, Ariel Atkins scored a quiet 15 points (4-15 FG) in Game 2 (7-8 FT).
Mystics Keys to Victory
1. Fast Start
Mystics need to get off to a fast start, something they have not done in this series. In Game 1, Washington trailed Seattle 24-13 after one, and down as many as 16 in the first half. The Storms' largest lead of 27 came in the third quarter. In Game 2, the Mystics trailed 25-16 after one. Seattle had a 12-point lead early in the second quarter before Washington went on a 24-8 run to close out the second and lead 40-36 at half.
2. Don’ Let Jewell Shine
After scoring 23 points in Game 1, it took a half for Jewell Lloyd to get the scoring going in Game 2. Mystics contained her in the first 20 minutes as Lloyd only scored one point in the first half. After the break she added 12 points to help the Storm secure a two-point victory.
3. Bench Matters
After Washington’s bench outscored Seattle’s bench in Game 1, 27-13, the Mystics’ bench outscored the Storm’s bench 16-12 in Game 2. Mystics forward Myisha Hines-Allen continues to shine off the pine with eight points on 4-4 shooting in Game 1 and six points on 3-3 shooting in Game 2. Hines-Allen is shooting 7-7 FG (100%) in both games combined vs. Storm.
Mystics Third Home
Washington will be hosting a game in a third venue this year. After a 12-5 record at Capital One Arena (2nd best record at home this season), the Mystics went 2-1 in the playoffs at the Smith Center at George Washington University. This will be the first time the Mystics will have ever played at Eagle Bank Arena on the campus of George Mason University. Keep in mind Washington had the third best road record during the regular season at 10-7. In the 2018 playoffs, Mystics are 2-3 on the road.
Storm Court Advantage
George Mason colors are green and gold. The same as the Seattle Storm. Eagle Bank Arena approximate capacity is 10,000. The Mystics are expecting a near sellout. For Washington it will help if the fans show up in red, white, and blue to wash out the green and gold seats.