Game 1 of the Mystics-Storm first round series was an instant classic, with Seattle managing to comeback late in the fourth quarter to win thanks to a big close from Jewell Loyd, which was just enough to take down an incredible individual effort from Elena Delle Donne.
In a first round that’s featured a number of blowouts, the 4-5 series was the one most were hoping would provide drama, but Game 2 didn’t follow the same script as the depth of Seattle proved to be too much for Washington in what became a XX-XX Storm win to advance them to the playoff semifinals.
Seattle came out hot, led by Loyd and their longtime star Sue Bird, as the Storm backcourt got busy early, pushing Seattle out to a 10-point advantage after the first quarter with five combined threes (and some slick passing too).
The Mystics would fight back early in the second quarter, going on a 15-4 run led by Natasha Cloud and punctuated by a three from Alysha Clark to push them in front briefly.
Seattle would edge back in front by two at the half, as Loyd and Cloud dueled from distance and it seemed like we might get another incredible showdown.
However, the Storm had other ideas as Breanna Stewart, who struggled to score early, started to find the basket from outside and in, while also setting a career-high in assists to push Seattle back in front by 10 going into the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth it started to feel like the Storm had taken full control, with Loyd lacing her fifth triple of the night and Seattle opening up their biggest lead of the game at 16 points.
The Mystics would keep fighting, with Cloud knocking down five threes of her own and Ariel Atkins chipping in three, but with Delle Donne not able to find the same form as Game 1 (5-of-14 from the field for 12 points), Washington just didn’t have the firepower to keep up and the Storm pulled away to a 13-point victory, punctuated by Sue Bird, who had a steal and score followed by her fourth three of the night as she finished with 18 points and 10 assists.
All five Storm starters finished in double figures, as their depth continues to shine. Stewart filled up the stat sheet with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists as she overcame that rough shooting start for a dominant performance. Loyd had 19 points (including those five threes), while Gabby Williams and Tina Charles had 14 and 12 apiece.
For Washington, it’s a disappointing end to a terrific season that saw the welcome return of Elena Delle Donne to playoff basketball. As for Seattle, they now head to Las Vegas for the semifinals for a highly anticipated best of 5 series with their Western Conference rivals in the Aces, with two of the most stacked rosters in the league going head-to-head in a series W fans will be very excited to see.