On Thursday, October 8, the Washington Mystics won their first-ever WNBA title in front of a raucous home crowd at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in DC after prevailing over the Connecticut Sun 89-78 in a hard-fought five game series.
Playing as the top-seeded team in the playoffs after a dominant regular season, the Mystics found a way to overcome a fierce opponent in the Sun and an untimely game 2 back injury to two-time league MVP Elena Delle Donne which limited her minutes at times during the series.
In the winner-take-all game 5, Emma Meesseman went for 22 points off the bench to lead the Mystics, while Elena Delle Donne added 21 points of her own. Meesseman, who was electric on both offensive and defensive ends all series long, was named Finals MVP.
It’s the first WNBA title for Delle Donne, a 6-time WNBA All-Star Selection, and head coach Mike Thibault, the winningest coach in WNBA history.
It was a fitting conclusion to an entertaining series and WNBA season. This was the seventh series in league history that had gone to a deciding Game 5, and the home team has won five of them. Players and coaches were eager all season to share positive feelings about their new home at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Congress Heights, which provided a playoff-worthy atmosphere that created energy and excitement the team was able to feed off of.
“As you’ve all witnessed here, the atmosphere in the arena is terrific with the fans and how they’re on top of everybody, and it’s loud,” Mystics Coach-General Manager Mike Thibault said after game 1. “It’s given us a home-court advantage we’ve never had, certainly in my seven years in D.C.”
Last month, the Mystics took down the Las Vegas Aces, 94-90, in Game 4 of their semifinal series to advance to the Finals for the second straight season.
At a celebration rally the following day, the team announced a large-scale parade for the spring of 2020 to officially commemorate the championship. With many Mystics players having commitments with teams overseas, a parade next year will allow the complete roster to join in the celebration.