Hear from those who played in Game 1
The Washington Mystics struck first, winning Game 1 of the 2019 WNBA Finals, 95-86. Here’s what some of the players on both teams had to say when it was over.
QUESTION: Elena, your thoughts on the composure the team had when Connecticut made that run to get within four, and defensively on Jonquel, what were you able to do to limit her throughout the game?
ELENA DELLE DONNE: I mean, the team showed a ton of toughness. It’s always tough when a team is going on a run like that, they have the shooters they have. But everybody was just kind of able to take a deep breath, stay calm. I think the last series really prepared us for moments like that because it was such a battle. And then Jonquel, she’s a great player. She makes some really tough shots. She’s got length. So you can send bodies at her and she can elevate and shoot over, but we were able to dig. The guards were able to help me a lot on those digs. She’s going to get her points, but you try to limit them and make everything hard.
QUESTION: Ariel, you had a phenomenal game tonight. I know you struggled with your shot a little bit in the semifinals. What was the key do you think tonight to kind of being the X factor for the team? And for Elena and Kristi, what have you seen from Ariel in this postseason?
ARIEL ATKINS: I think just keeping the focus. Yeah, they’ve struggled throughout the series, but the main point of all of this is to win. I could care less if I score 50 or 0 trying to win a championship.
KRISTI TOLIVER: I mean, people always ask me about little A. They’re like, all right, what is little A going to bring, is this moment too big for her, dadada. I’m like, listen, little A is little freaking A, and she plays hard all the time and she gives everything all the time and she’s a selfless kid. Like, she is, to me, the best second-year player I’ve ever been around as far as her maturity level, her work ethic, her want to do the right thing for the team. And she was the difference maker for us last year. She had a great rookie season. And this year she’s just showing that sophomore slumps are BS. And I’m just really, really proud of her and all the plays that she’s made, and tonight her rebounding and her play making was the difference for us because those were in critical, critical moments.
ELENA DELLE DONNE: This is a random funny story about little A. But last year we did massages at rookie’s houses, and when I walked into little A’s house and she had a crock pot cooking some meal, and then she had plants, I was like, this is the oldest soul I’ve ever met, and I fell in love with her ever since.
QUESTION: Ariel Atkins had you as her assignment. Can you talk about how much of a challenge she was defensively and how you were able to fight through that for your 26 points today?
COURTNEY WILLIAMS: To be honest, I felt like I could do it whatever I wanted to do. I mean, no shame to her, she’s a great defender, but I felt like I was getting to all my spots that I wanted to get to. I felt pretty comfortable. I think I shot the best I ever shot from the three. But we’ve just got to get the next game. I don’t know, I felt pretty comfortable out there.
QUESTION: Alyssa, that weird play when you drove the basket and they called a double foul on you and I think it was Tianna, did they explain to you what that was?
ALYSSA THOMAS: No, I don’t think they even knew what it was. It was just a ref not being confident in her call. She was there, and she wanted to call a block, but she let the other two refs have input in it, as well. They just need to be confident in their calls.
Love our 24/7 women’s basketball coverage? Join our Patreon now and support this work, while getting extra goodies and subscriber-only content for yourself.