The Washington Mystics looked a little more like themselves in Game 2 of the Semifinals. They competed on the defensive end and displayed that beautiful ball movement that was seen all year long. They used a big third quarter to create a bit of separation before Kristi Toliver closed the door late with a couple of big shots. The Mystics head to Las Vegas with a 2-0 series lead after the 103-91 win on Thursday night at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C.
Despite having the 2019 Most Valuable Player in Elena Delle Donne, one of the Mystics biggest strength was that they could hurt teams in multiple ways on the offensive end. Las Vegas got to see it first hand as Emma Meesseman, Natasha Cloud, and LaToya Sanders led Washington in scoring. Meesseman tied a career high with 30 points in the win, Sanders had 17 as the Aces left her open quite a bit and she made them pay. Cloud continued her strong play this series, recording a double-double with 18 points and 11 assists.
Liz Cambage led the Aces with 23 points and 10 rebounds, Kelsey Plum had another good performance with 19 points and 10 assists. Las Vegas got a combined 17 points from A’ja Wilson and Kayla McBride.
The visitors used a 10-1 run to close the first half, it allowed them to nearly erase a 10 point deficit. Plum hit a very tough layup in traffic to cut the deficit to one, Washington went into the half clinging to a one point lead.
Aces Head Coach Bill Laimbeer talked about how good of a team Washington has been in the third quarter this season following Game 1. Early in the period it looked as if Laimbeer’s group would seize control of the game. They took a three point lead at one point, but Washington eventually got going. Delle Donne hit a shot to retake the lead and then the Mystics started to get going. A Toliver triple during a 10-0 run almost blew the roof off the ESA, but Vegas trailed by just 11 heading into the fourth.
Delle Donne received her second MVP Award prior to the game, she struggled a bit offensively but found other ways to contribute. The 2019 MVP pulled down 10 rebounds and had two blocks. She mentioned her teammates in her acceptance speech and they certainly had her back in this win.
Late in the fourth, Tamara Young took advantage of a few open looks. A few possessions later, Kelsey Plum got an old fashioned three point play and the Aces were down just nine with 2:48 left in regulation.
Meesseman would hit her fifth and final three pointer of the night to give Washington a 12 point lead. Toliver hit from midrange a couple of possessions later and then officially closed the door on the victory with a 27-foot triple.
“The playoffs start when you go on the road” is what Toliver shared following the Game 2 win. Washington will have a tough task in front of them as they head to Las Vegas for Game 3. The Aces can’t afford to lose as it’ll mean the end of their season, the Mystics had the best road record in the league during the regular season.