Mystics fall short of title as Storm sweep WNBA Finals
FAIRFAX, Va. The Washington Mystics had a chance to make it three league championships for one city in one summer. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be.
Instead, the Seattle Storm swept the Mystics and won their third WNBA title with a 98-82 Game 3 victory on Wednesday night at EagleBank Arena at George Mason University, in a heartbreaking end to the best season in Mystics franchise history.
It was the franchise’s first time hosting a Finals game, and they had a sellout crowd of 9,164. The Mystics were trying to become the first team to come back down 2-0 in the Finals to win the series.
Elena Delle Donne scored 23 points and Kristi Toliver had 22, but they could not contain Breanna Stewart, who led with 30 points, and Natasha Howard, who tallied 29 points and 14 rebounds.
The Storm built a 46-30 halftime lead thanks to a dominant, 21-10 run in the final six minutes of the second quarter. Washington missed seven 3-pointers in that period and shot just 29.7 percent from the floor in the half.
In the third, starting center LaToya Sanders made a heroic dive to save a ball heading out of bounds, allowing Toliver to scoop it up and score. But Sanders injured her ankle on the play and had to be carried to the locker room by two Washington staff members.
It got out of hand before long. Sloppy passing led to five steals allowed and eight total “bad pass” turnovers for the Mystics, and they did not play tight enough perimeter defense against a Storm team that shot 13-for-26 from the arc.
The Mystics looked poised for a fourth-quarter comeback by opening the period on an 11-1 run, with Delle Donne scoring the first six points. But all Seattle needed was a few more 3-pointers to pull away.