Mystics ease past Sparks 96-64 to reach semifinals
WASHINGTON (AP) — Elena Delle Donne had 19 points and 12 rebounds to help the Washington Mystics rout the Los Angeles Sparks 96-64 on Thursday night in the second round of the WNBA playoffs.
Los Angeles and Minnesota — the past three WNBA champions — have both been eliminated from the postseason.
The Mystics (23-12) start a best-of-five series against Atlanta on Sunday, aiming for their first WNBA Finals appearance.
LaToya Sanders and Ariel Atkins each scored 14 points for No. 3 seed Washington. The Mystics had 28 assists on 37 field goals, leading to six players in double-figure scoring.
Delle Donne made a baseline jumper to close a 15-2 run for a 21-13 lead and the Mystics extended it to 27-16 at the end of the first quarter. It was 50-29 at halftime and 75-46 entering the fourth.
Candace Parker scored 16 points for Los Angeles (19-16). Nneka Ogwumike and Chelsea Gray — part of the Sparks’ top-three scorers — combined for 0-of-9 shooting in the first half.
It was a tough travel stretch for Los Angeles to end the year. The Sparks closed the regular season at Connecticut, hosted defending champion Minnesota two nights later and returned to the East Coast in a four-day stretch.
The game was played at George Washington University’s Charles E. Smith Center because the Mystics’ regular home, Capital One Arena, is undergoing renovations.