WNBA Finals: Sun force Game 5 after dramatic win over Mystics

Ruben Hill
October 10, 2019

After they squandered their first opportunity to bring home a title with Tuesday's 90-86 Game 4 loss in CT, there is much at stake for Washington on Thursday at Entertainment and Sports Arena: A title would be the first not just for the organization but also for Thibault, the Mystics' coach and general manager who has spent 17 years in the league and is on his fourth trip to the finals, as well as for two-time league MVP Elena Delle Donne, who at 30 has every possible accolade but a league championship.

"We just needed to get back to what we were doing in the first quarter", Alyssa Thomas said, in part, after the game. "When we're all locked in and on the same page, we just move in unison". Jasmine Thomas has ended up getting a total of 5.1 assist a game on the season.

"We're having the time of our life right now", Sun coach Curt Miller said. "You dream as a little kid being in a deciding final game, a Game 7 or 5 to win a world championship. If you grew up a basketball fan, these are the moments you dreamed of". She trailed only Jonquel Jones, who finished with a game-high 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

The Mystics trailed by 18 at one point in the first quarter Tuesday and ended it trailing 32-17, a cardinal sin in a series in which the victor of the first period has gone on to win every game. The Mystics kept it going to start the fourth, opening up a five-point lead. A 3-pointer from Stricklen with 2:23 remaining in the game would break the final tie and put the Sun up for good. But Washington didn't score again.

Aerial Powers scored 15 points off the bench to lead the Mystics.

"Both teams were making big shots. We can pick them apart". We got to the line down the stretch.

CT got out to a hot start, leading 32-17 before taking a 16-point lead into the half. Ariel Atkins has managed to get only 1.5 assist a game. Stricklen hit 3 of 6 3-pointers, including early shots that boosted the lead and momentum.

For the Mystics they have been able to rely on Elena Delle Donne to do the scoring on the year with 19.5 points a game with 51.5% shooting on the field. "They were playing more aggressive defensively". We can pick them apart, their rotations aren't great, and we have really great shooters on our team.

While Delle Donne got the attention this week, she's far from the only player hurting. "This is a huge game for us. They are a great team, and you give that type of lead to them, makes thing hard".

It had been a series of runs, but rarely any lead changes until the fourth quarter of game 4. Toliver said after the Mystics clinched that series, explaining her return to the starting lineup. CT was ahead by 12 in the second game and Washington by 15 in Game 3.

This time, though, the Sun watched an 18-point lead vanish and had to fight down the stretch to stay alive.

CT took 26 free throws to only 13 by Washington, with Delle Donne and Meesseman only combining for three attempts.

Game 5 is Thursday at 8 p.m. on ESPN2 back in Washington at the Entertainment and Sports Arena.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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