Mystics edged by Storm late, fall down 0-2 in WNBA Finals

Box Score

The Mystics entered Sunday afternoon’s Game 2 knowing they would need to bring a better complete effort to steal one in a hostile road environment before heading home to D.C. They did the little things right and gave themselves a chance to win late, but couldn’t quite seal it in the closing minutes as the Storm escaped with a 75-73 victory and a 2-0 lead in the WNBA Finals. Washington will now head back home with its backs against the wall in the best-of-5 series.

While Elena Delle Donne (team-high 17 points) and her supporting cast that included 15 points apiece from Kristi Toliver and Ariel Atkins did almost everything well on the game, one key piece was missing: the 3-point ball. Washington limited turnovers in a tough road environment, hit free throws and defended well, but missed all 16 of its shots from beyond the arc Sunday. And though Seattle didn’t shoot well from deep, its six 3-point makes were a big part of the difference.

Numbers aside, the Mystics had a chance to win in the final 20 seconds of the game. It came with 16.9 seconds remaining after a rare missed pair of free throws from Seattle’s Breanna Stewart. Off the Washington inbound, Toliver lost the ball driving the baseline, resulting eventually in a lost jump ball. Atkins had a final chance to heave a 3-pointer from 60 feet at the buzzer that hit off the side rim.

Stewart (25 points) got the Storm off on the right foot early with 11 points  first quarter gets Storm out to another commanding start, up 9 after the 1st quarter. The Mystics battled back in 2nd quarter with the help of a 10-0 run and won the frame 24-11 to take a four-point lead into the halftime break. Delle Donne and Toliver accounted for 21 of Washington’s 40 points at the half.

Seattle saved their best defensive performance for the fourth quarter, holding the Mystics to just 12 points in the final 10 minutes. Stewart tallied nine of the Storm’s 17 points in the fourth to lead her team to victory and bring her team to the brink of its third WNBA title.

Next, the Mystics will head home for a must-win at home in Game 3 on Wednesday night. Tipoff at George Mason University’s EagleBank Arena is scheduled for 8 p.m. (ESPN2).