Jonquel Jones scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds in her first WNBA Finals, but her Connecticut Sun dropped the first game as the Washington Mystics won 95-86 to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five championship series at the Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington, D.C., yesterday afternoon.
This is the Sun’s first time playing in the WNBA finals since 2005.
Courtney Williams scored 26 points and Alyssa Thomas added 20 points to lead Connecticut in this game.
The first quarter was controlled by the Mystics who built a 30-17 lead heading into the second quarter.
After the Mystics got off to an 8-3 start, Jones connected from three-point territory with 6:45 remaining in the first quarter to cut the lead to just two, 8-6.
It was a back-and-forth game in that quarter and with 3:21 remaining in the first quarter, Jones’ teammate, guard Thomas, spun her way to the basket to score a layup to put her team to just one point behind, 18-17.
After that Thomas layup, the Mystics went up another gear as they ended the quarter on a 12-0 run that put the Sun in a deep hole to get out of. They led 30-17.
The first quarter saw the Mystics shoot a high 72.2 percent clip to connect on 13-of-18 shots from the field. The Sun shot 53.8 percent from the field.
The Grand Bahamian stopped that 12-0 run with a turnaround fadeaway shot with 9:47 remaining in the second quarter. Jones had a tough assignment as she guarded Mystics’ center Elena Delle Donne, the league MVP. Delle Donne scored seven of her 22 points in the first quarter.
Delle Donne had help from teammate Ariel Atkins who had 21 points in the game.
The quarter belonged to the Sun who outscored the Mystics 29-25. That meant nothing as the Mystics still were up by nine, 55-46.
After leading the league in rebounding this season, Jones had a tough time pulling down boards because of a busy Delle Donne and other Mystics big players. The Sun center finished the first half with three rebounds.
It was a tough third quarter for the Sun. The Mystics extended that nine-point lead to 17 in the third quarter after Delle Donne sank two free-throws with 5:33 remaining in the third quarter. The score was 67-50 in favor of the Mystics.
At the end of the third quarter, the Mystics led 76-66.
A resilient effort was made for a comeback by the Sun as the Sun’s Morgan Tuck got a fadeaway bank shot with 6:37 remaining to cut the lead to four, 78-74.
Delle Donne came right back and hit a pull-up jump shot to put her team up 80-74.
The Sun brought the game back to within four with 5:56 remaining in the fourth quarter as the Mystics led 80-76.
That was the closest the Sun got to the Mystics as Delle Donne responded again with a jump shot to put her team back up to six points at 82-76 with 4:56 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Washington held on to a 95-86 victory and is now two wins away from winning the WNBA title.
These two teams played three times in the regular season. The Sun won two games and the Mystics won one.
Mike Thibault, head coach for the Mystics, threw Delle Donne, Emma Meesseman and Latoya Meesseman – his big players – on the court at the same time. If it is done in game two, Sun Head Coach Curt Miller will have more time to counter it.
When the final whistle blew, the Mystics shot 54 percent from the field. The Sun shot 48.5 percent.
The Sun, who had a week’s rest, did not look game-ready as the Mystics’ last game was Tuesday.
Game two is set for tomorrow night at the same venue; that game is set to start at 8 p.m. on ESPN.