Takeaways: Washington Mystics optimistic about future after getting swept by Lynx in WNBA semifinals

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 17: Sylvia Fowles /
1 of 5

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Washington Mystics had one last shot, this time in front of their hometown crowd, to extend their unexpected playoff run and take the powerhouse Minnesota Lynx to a fourth game. But it wasn’t to be.

Though the Mystics played assertive, gritty offense and defense during the first two quarters to take a 39-38 lead into halftime, they simply ran out of gas against a deep, experience, and rested Lynx squad, and fell 81-70. This gave the Lynx the 3-0 series victory, and they now will get their much-awaited finals rematch against the Lost Angeles Sparks.

More from High Post Hoops

Maya Moore led all scorers with 21 points and five assists, while Seimone Augustus had 18  points and four assists, and freshly-minted MVP Sylvia Fowles added 17 points and 14 rebounds. Lindsay Whalen had zero points coming into the fourth quarter, but finished the game with eight points — in other words, she played the best when her team needed it the most.

But there will be plenty of time to focus on the Lynx, and the many, many, many things they do well.

This piece is about the Mystics, a team that truly believes they are on the verge of something special.

In this game, Elena Delle Donne led the team with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Tierra Ruffin-Pratt had 14 points and five rebounds, Kristi Toliver had 13 points and five assists, Krystal Thomas had seven points and seven rebounds, and Emma Meesseman had eight points, three assists, two steals, and three blocked shots.

With Ivory Latta’s knee hurting her, the Mystics primarily went with an eight-woman rotation, only using Natasha Cloud, Tianna Hawkins, and Allison Hightower off of the bench.

It simply wasn’t enough. But after the game, head coach Mike Thibault teared up when talking about his team, which has been through so much adversity this season, from losing Meesseman to Belgium to a month, to losing Tayler Hill for the season with an ACL tear, and many injuries in between.

“I walked into the locker room, and a lot of teams when you go through a struggle, they’re kind-of glad to get away from it at the end, sometimes when you’re down 0-2 in a series, you feel like you’ve got a teammate or two with their foot out the door,” Thibault said. “I never felt that with this team. I don’t think this team wanted to quit playing. Unfortunately we do, but I don’t think anybody in that room wanted to quit playing.”

Here’s what we learned not only from this game, but from a season that saw the Mystics advance to the semifinals of the WNBA playoffs for the first time since 2002.