WNBA: Elena Delle Donne heroics fall just short for Washington Mystics

Vintage Elena Delle Donne was on complete display screen in the Emerald City; nevertheless her effort failed as the Mystics stopped working to liquidate Game 1 of their first-round WNBA playoff series versus the Seattle Storm.

The groups are really equally matched on paper. As discussed in the Storm-Mystics sneak peek, the most significant enigma headed into this series for Washington was how the offense would carry out.

In early June, I created the expression the “Delle Donne dynamic,” recommending that Washington was too dependent on the 2x MVP to produce a decent offense. At the time, the sample size was irrelevant and the group was winning so the sobs fell on deaf ears. The Mystics were just a typical offense with a remarkable defense, which equated to wins previously in the season. However, when Delle Donne rested, the battles manifested themselves in frustrating losses to groups like Los Angeles, New York, and Phoenix.

Delle Donne’s routine season on/off numbers don’t separate her from the league’s finest gamers like A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart; nevertheless in Thursday night’s match, the Mystics had a 114 offending score with her on the court, and a 77 offending score when she went to the bench. The net score distinction is simply as plain, going from a group that outscored Seattle by 8 points every 100 ownerships, to being outscored by Seattle by 30 points every 100 ownerships.

Simply put, the video game was lost in the minutes Delle Donne went to the bench.

After the video game, head coach Mike Thibault explained how the group required to fix a couple of errors, however he sounded positive that Game 2 is within reach.

“A couple people didn’t have the shooting game we needed them to have, if we make those shots on Sunday we walk out of [Seattle] with a win,” he stated. “I don’t have a lot of complaints about the overall effort. I thought we could have moved the ball a little bit quicker, I thought we had to make a few too many 1-on-1 plays, I think that slowed us down.”

Help for Delle Donne wasn’t there on Thursday, however Shakira Austin had a motivating efficiency in her very first postseason video game. Two weeks earlier, she confessed to not feeling like a novice after being among just 2 gamers on the group to have actually played in all 36 routine season video games.

Austin completed with 12 points (on 6-of-10 shooting) and 7 rebounds. It was her offending rebounding that set the tone in the very first half. Her 12 points are the most by a Mystics novice in the playoffs considering that Ariel Atkins in 2018 versus Seattle.

“First playoff game and going head-to-head with good players, I thought she did a commendable job in the first game,” Thibault stated.

Turning point

Finding where the video game was lost for Washington is a challenging undertaking, generally due to the fact that the video game was back-and-forth, with the groups trading leads till the last buzzer.

With 3:16 staying in the 4th quarter, Delle Donne made a challenging running jumper over the outstretched arms of Tina Charles to put Washington up 79-75. It seemed like at that minute, Washington had actually taken a video game on the roadway. On the other end, Washington required Stewart into a challenging shot however stopped working to protect the rebound, which returned to Stewart, who discovered Jewell Loyd for an open 3.

Loyd had simply 4 points headed into the 4th quarter; nevertheless, that shot stimulated a run of what would be 10-straight points for her, as she closed the video game out for Seattle, providing the 86-83 win.

Delle Donne confessed postgame that the missed out on chances didn’t sit ideal with the group.

“We spoke about whoever does the little things is going to win the series … down the stretch we had some key rebounds that we missed, there were times we didn’t get the ball where it needed to be, or were careless with the ball at times.”

However, in spite of the loss, the sensation among the Mystics locker space is that they remain in an outstanding position to win Game 2 on Sunday. Natasha Cloud even stated to the DC faithful that there will be a Game 3 played in Washington.

The turn-around fasts. Sunday’s video game is for all the marbles.

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