Things seemed bleak for the Washington Mystics after a 99-87 Game 2 loss to the Connecticut Sun that started with MVP Elena Delle Donne leaving with a herniated disk.
The Sun’s star Jonquel Jones dominated that night, recording 32 points and 18 rebounds. After the game, I wrote that behind Jonquel Jones, the Sun had a chance to steal the championship from Delle Donne and the Mystics. I am strongly reconsidering the thesis of that article after Delle Donne rallied, playing through multiple injuries to help the Mystics win Game 3 on the road 94-81.
EDD. GETS. BUCKETS. pic.twitter.com/iPsYUtTHSO— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) October 6, 2019
While the MVP was clearly not her full self, the Mystics’ offense did a wonderful job on not relying too much on their hampered star, allowing her to record 13 points on 5-6 shooting (3-4 from three). More than anything, Delle Donne’s return provided the team with an emotional boost, as SB Nation’s Matt Ellentuck points out, writing: “The constant reminder o what Delle Donne was fighting through was in clear view for her teammates throughout the game.” Elena Delle Donne, and teammate Ariel Atkins, playing through massive injuries reminded their entire team how much this championship meant to them, and to their fans. There is just something about watching a two time MVP play with a herniated disk, a broken nose, and knee brace that inspires you. The Mystics were galvanized, hitting a WNBA Finals record-tying 16 threes to edge out the Sun. Veteran point guard Kristi Toliver seemed to play with a new found control in Game 3, hitting shots from deep and orchestrating excellent feeds into the post recording 20 points and 10 assists; while playoff breakout Emma Meesseman continued her “Matrix moment”, leading all scorers with 21 points. The Mystics’ defense also seemed to play with the new found physical edge they had promised, holding Jonquel Jones to 9 points and 9 rebounds after her historic Game 2.
After Game 2, it seemed as though Delle Donne’s back injury might be a killing blow to the Mystic’s championship aspirations. But all the tired cliches apply: What doesn’t kill them makes them stronger; If you strike Elena Delle Donne down, she will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. With their masked MVP back, the Mystics are only one win away from their first WNBA Finals. If injury can’t stop the Washington Mystics, I’m not sure that anything can.
Notable Stat Lines — Game 3, Washington Mystics @ Connecticut Sun Elena Delle Donne (WAS) – 13 pts, 6 rebounds, 5-6 from the floor, 3-4 from the three Emma Meesseman (WAS) – 21 pts, 6 rebounds, 8-13 from the floor, 3-4 from the three Kristi Toliver (WAS) – 20 points, 10 assists, 7-9 from the floor, 4-4 from the three
Image Source: Washington Post