Basketball fans were given a real treat with two back-to-back Game 5’s in the WNBA. With each game determining the Finals Matchup, it was clear that the competition would be intense. While the stars definitely came to play, the ultimate winners of these games were the Washington Mystics and the Seattle Storm. Along with my breakdowns of the games I will also provide my predictions for the WNBA Finals.
Mystics earn their 1st trip to the Finals over the Dream
From the moment the ball was tipped off to the final whistle this game 5 was incredibly close game. The reason for this was due to the fact that both teams played amazing team basketball with each team accumulating multiple assists while also scoring pretty effectively. The two teams also played great team defense with both teams accumulating 5 blocks. It was clear that both teams were putting everything on the line in this “winner take all” game 5. Then the biggest question would be what was the factor that ultimately pushed the game into the Mystics Favor. Most would quickly go and point to Superstar Ellena Della Done as this pivotal factor. However, this is not the case as she only scored 14 points on only 38.5% shoothing. No the two factors that truly pushed the Mystics over the top were the Veteran experience of their stars and the incredible play of one of bench players. First when talking about veteran experience, in the fourth it could have swinged either way. But in tight moments Vets like Della done, and Kristi Toliver simply did not fade under the pressure, and continue to make plays on both ends of the court. The next major factor was production they received from Tiana Hawkins. With Della Donne having a mediocre game it was up to one of her teammates to pick up the slack. Hawkins answered the call scoring 17 point with 6-8 shooting off the bench. On the other side, while the Dream lost, they played with a lot of hear throughout the entire game. They had two opportunities to tie the game at the end and although the shots they can hold their heads up for a well fought match. Also, it should be noted that they had this incredible run without there star player Angel McCoughtry. Overall Game 5 was an amazing finish to an incredibly entertaining series.
The Sue Bird Show
Every games this series prior to Game 5 had a generally the same storyline. The Storm would gain a solid early lead until the fourth quarter, where the Veteran Leadership of the Mercury would just overwhelm the Youthful Seattle Team. In Game 5, the script was completely flipped with Mercury taking a huge lead early on and maintaining that early lead until the end of the fourth quarter. This is when it turned into the Sue Bird Show. She dominated the fourth quarter, scoring 14 points while shooting 80%. She singlehandedly propelled the storm to a birth in the 20-18 Finals. In spite of this, ne has to give Tarausi and the Mercury a ton of credit because despite losing the lead they continued to battle for throughout the entire 4thquarter. Taurasi ended the game with a serviceable 17 points, while her co-star Brittney Griner continued to wreak havoc on in the paint scoring an additional 21 points on 75% shooting. Many times going shot for shot with the Storm, if it were not for the heroics of Sue Bird there would have been a good chance that the Mercury would have won this Elimination Game. Also while the hero of tonight is clearly Sue Bird, It is impossible to deny the importance of Breana Stewart this Game. Scoring 28 points on 50% shooting from the field, she was able to help keep the game close, which allowed Sue Bird a chance to dominate at the end. With Seattle Defeating this incredibly tough Phoenix team, there is no doubt that they are going to be considered the Favorite when playing against Elena Della Donne Mystics in the Championship.
While both teams possess incredible talent I definitely favor Seatlle in this Finals Matchup. While the dream was a hard matchup, the storm definitely had the tougher matchup playing Phoenix. This will ultimately prove incredibly helpful as now they no longer have to face the defensive presence of Brittany Grinner. In all honestly defensively there are no players in Washington that I can see stopping either Stewart or Sue Bird. While I do think Della Done is the best player on the court, her injury along with the lack of defensive talent really does not bode well for the Mystics. The only real advantage that they have is that offensively they have a multiple players that can create their own offense. The problem is that Seattle also plays great defensive. As long as the Storm is able to contain Della done, I do not see this series going past 4 games.