The trend continued in Game 4, the team that won the first quarter and the rebounding battle came out on top. The Connecticut Sun held a 32-17 lead after the opening period, weathered a hellacious third quarter run by the Mystics and got key stops down the stretch to force a winner take all Game 5 Thursday night in D.C.
The Sun held on to win Game 4 90-86, they had remarkable balance in their starting five as everyone scored at least 15 points. Jonquel Jones had another double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds while Alyssa Thomas barely missed a triple double. The former Maryland Terrapin had 17 points, 11 assists, and 8 rebounds.
Washington bench once again helped them overcome a poor start, the Mystics got 39 points from their bench as Aerial Powers scored 15 points. Emma Meesseman added 12 and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added seven on a night the starters struggled. Elena Delle Donne said she felt a bit looser following the game regarding her back, she did shoot the ball well, but Washington didn’t do a good enough job of getting her the ball.
This felt like a heavyweight slugfest late in the game, the Mystics trailed by 16 at the half and used a 28-12 third quarter to even things at 68. They even held a four point lead early in the fourth, but the Sun responded and both fighters stood in the middle of the ring and started swinging in the fourth.
Washington missed a few good looks late and the Sun converted theirs, but as Jasmine Thomas stated after the game, it was about getting stops and her team did that down the stretch.
As the series heads to Washington, it’s clear these teams are two of the best at scoring the ball in the league. Curt Miller alluded to that saying that it’s been “maddening” as a Coach in this series. Just good basketball being played on both sides and he and several players from both teams shared their thoughts on what it means to be apart of a Game 7 or Game 5 in this case as a Coach and player.
The Mystics starters can’t afford another bad start, Mike Thibault talked about not bringing the right amount of energy. He described Powers big night as proof that having good energy will bring the ball your way and that she provided a big lift.
Courtney Williams cited that it was a game of runs afterwards, but she laughed while saying “we didn’t think they’d go on that type of a run” with her teammates on the podium.
There’s not a lack of confidence on either side as this heads to the fifth and final game, both teams have showed in this series why they were the two teams atop the standings for much of the year.
Washington point guard Natasha Cloud guaranteed a Game 5 win in an interview with WUSA reporter Darren M Haynes.
This series has been about adjustments and at times who just wants it more. We’ll find out on Thursday if the trend mentioned earlier continues, whether it holds or not, there will be a WNBA Champion crowned at the end of that game.