Mystics point guard Natasha Cloud put the team on her back late however it wasn't enough to secure a win
Often times, a game can be traced back to a play and/or a sequence of plays that has a pivotal role in the final outcome. As the Washington Mystics (12-18) hosted the Seattle Storm (14-17) in a game that had huge playoff implications, the sequence of plays that decided the game, came from Storm rookie Breanna Stewart. With Washington leading 53-43 at the 4:54 mark of the 3rd quarter, Stewart who had been relatively quiet up to that point showed why she is seen as the future of the WNBA. Stewart went on a personal 10-0 run to give the Storm a 63-61 lead. Washington couldn't recover, falling to the Storm 81-76 despite a determined 4th quarter performance from Mystics floor general Natasha Cloud.
As expected, the game was a flat out war from start to finish. The first half was a back an forth affair as the Mystics trailed by two 41-39. Washington's front court of Emma Meeseman and Stefanie Dolson were deadly efficient, combining for 17 of the Mystics 39 points on 7 of 12 shooting from the field. Washington needed every point, as Seattle's legendary point guard Sue Bird was already working on a triple double with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assist at halftime. Washington came out in the 3rd quarter on fire. Guards Taylor Hill and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt combined to shoot 4 of 7 from 3-point territory while defensively holding Stewart and Jewell Loyd in check during the run to take a 53-41 lead mid way through the third. Then the Stewart run came and the Mystics were outscored by the Storm 22-8 to close out the third quarter resulting in a 63-61 Storm lead after three. Washington sensing the game slipping away began to press, forcing shot's and eventually becoming ice cold from the field. The Storm took full advantage slowly building a six point lead early in the 4th 67-61. Mystics guard Natasha Cloud came alive just in time. Cloud scored 10 of her 12 points late in the 4th to bring the Mystics within three 79-76 with 56 seconds left. Washington played excellent defense on back to back Seattle possessions, forcing shot clock violations on both and regaining possession with 8 seconds left. Washington looked for their go to scorer Taylor Hill who shot a 3-pointer that missed. Seattle guard Jewell Loyd secured the rebound, and after being fouled, knocked down both free throws to secure the win for the Storm.
Washington was led by forward Emma Meeseman who finished with a team high 15 points, center Stefanie Dolson posted 12 points and 8 rebounds while point guard Natasha Cloud added 12 points, 5 assist and 4 rebounds.
Seattle was led by point guard Sue Bird who finished with 17 points, 9 assist and 7 rebounds, forward Breanna Stewart 17 points and 10 rebounds and Alysha Clarks 14 points.
With the loss Washington remains in 9th place, a game behind the Phoenix Mercury for the 8th and final playoff spot. The Storm takes sole possession of the 7th spot.
The Mystics will next host conference rival Indiana Fever Sunday at 4 p.m. and will close out the season with two of their final three games on the road at New York (Sept 13th) and at Atlanta (Sept 15th) before hosting the Connecticut Sun in the final regular season game on September 18th.
Mystics forward Emma Meeseman shoots her patented lefty hook on Storm forward Ramu Tokashiki
Storm point guard Sue Bird messed around and almost posted a triple double with 17 points, 9 assist and 7 rebounds
Storm do everything forward Breanna Stewart shoots over Mystics guard Natasha Cloud