The No. 1 Washington Mystics are heading to Las Vegas with a 2-0 lead in the semifinals and just one more win needed to clinch the best of five series against the No. 4 Aces.
It has been an exciting week for the Mystics on and off the court.
Thursday night, Washington knocked off the visiting Aces 103-91 behind Emma Meesseman’s career-high 30 points. Messeman has been one of the standouts of the series so far after a 27 point, 10 rebound performance Tuesday night.
Even when the Aces went on a double-digit run in the final quarter of the game, the Mystics defense withstood the challenge. The first two games of the series have been down to the wire.
Much like they have done all season with balanced scoring, the top-seeded Mystics had special performances as six players finished in double-figures.
Guard Natasha Cloud had a double-double on the night of 18 points, 11 rebounds. LaToya Sanders added 17 as Elena Delle Donne finished with 14. Kristi Toliver and Aerial Powers both added 10 points to round out the Mystics double-figure scoring.
Earlier Thursday, Delle Donne received a much-deserved honor of being named the WNBA MVP for the second time in her career, becoming the first Mystics player to receive the accolade.
“I mean, Tash [Natasha Cloud] has prepared me for the ‘M-V-P’ chants all season, so I’m definitely ready for that,” said Delle Donne, “This is home to me and being able to bring this to D.C. really means so much.”
The University of Delaware graduate also won MVP in 2015 when she was playing with the Chicago Sky. Delle Donne also joins a talented list of five other WNBA players to ever win two or three MVP honors.
In the regular season, Delle Donne averaged 19.5 points,8.3 rebounds, and six assists per game. She also made headlines when she became the first WNBA player to have a 50/40/90 season with an astonishing shooting percentage of 51.5 overall, 43 three-point average, and a 97.4 shooting percentage at the free-throw line.
Delle Donne has been a big key to the Mystics magical season, full of individual and team records broken.
“Everything I do is just trying to be focused in the present moment and enjoying that because that’s truly all you can do,” said Delle Donne, “Our team, we love each other, so we want to enjoy every step of the way. This is one of those steps, but there’s so much more to accomplish and we all know that and have a focus for that. Just unfinished business.”
For as great as the Mystics season has been so far, they are not done yet. Washington is now four wins away from a championship.
The Mystics took care of business this week starting Tuesday night as they hosted the Aces in Game 1 with a nail biter to the finish. Washington won the regular-season series 2-1, but that did not matter come game one.
The Aces came into the game fresh off the exhilaration and excitement of Dearica Hamby’s game-winning basket to clinch round two with a one-point win over the Sky.
In game one, A’ja Wilson led the visitors with 23 points and 7 rebounds as Liz Cambage finished with a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds.
As mentioned, Meesseman led all scorers with 27 points. Delle Donne chipped in with 24 points as Cloud added 12.
Next, the Mystics are on the road for game three with a chance to close out the series Sunday, September 22 for a 5 pm ET tipoff against the Aces. If the Aces win game three, game four will also be in Vegas on Tuesday, September 24.