The Washington Mystics are back in the WNBA Finals after defeating the Las Vegas Aces 94-90 to win their semifinal series 3-1 Tuesday night at Mandalay Bay Event Center.
2019 league MVP Elena Delle Donne led the Mystics. The All-Star forward had 25 points, six rebounds, two steals and an assist. In the loss, Liz Cambage led the Aces with 25 points.
Washington will meet the Connecticut Sun. The Sun swept the Los Angeles Sparks in their semifinal series to advance to the Finals for the first time since 2005.
Below is a look at when and where the Mystics and Sun will play for the championship.
WNBA Finals Schedule
Game 1: Connecticut Sun at Washington Mystics; Sunday, Sept. 29, 3 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 2: Connecticut Sun at Washington Mystics; Tuesday, Oct. 1, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 3: Washington Mystics at Connecticut Sun; Sunday, Oct. 6, 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Game 4*: Washington Mystics at Connecticut Sun; Tuesday, Oct. 8, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Game 5*: Connecticut Sun at Washington Mystics, Thursday, Oct. 10, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2
*denotes if necessary
All games will be available to stream on WatchESPN.
Led by Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart, the Seattle Storm swept the Mystics in last year's WNBA Finals.
This time around, the No. 1 seed will face a much less experienced side in Connecticut and have center Emma Meesseman, who sat out the entire 2018 season. Her impact has not gone unnoticed:
Meesseman showed just how much of a difference-maker she can be in the Finals down the stretch Tuesday night with 22 points off the bench (13 of which in the fourth quarter) while going 4-of-4 from three:
The Sun are playing like they're the ones in back-to-back Finals, however. According to ESPN's Alden Gonzalez, Connecticut held the Sparks to 39 percent from the field throughout the series and only allowed them to make 11 of 58 three-point attempts.
Gonzalez added more context as to why this group could earn Connecticut its first title in franchise history:
"The Sun's starting five -- [Courtney] Williams, [Jasmine] Thomas, Jonquel Jones, Alyssa Thomas and Shekinna Stricklen -- is one of only four throughout WNBA history to remain together without interruption for an entire season, according to Elias Sports Bureau research. Each of the five players has been with the Sun for at least the past four seasons."
The fact that the Sun have been able to maintain their starting five through the entire season is even more impressive because Thomas has been playing through labral tears in both of her shoulders. The 27-year-old forward will be the one to watch for Connecticut, while Meesseman figures to be the difference-maker for Washington.
Having Meesseman back at the Mystics' disposal off the bench adds a deadly dynamic behind Delle Donne, as SB Nation's Mike Prada wrote:
"The Aces have focused their attention on slowing Delle Donne and anticipating the Mystics' dynamic ball movement. They've toggled between man-to-man, zone, and mixtures of the two, and even started switching all screens in Game 2. Off-ball defenders have aggressively helped in the lane, hoping to beat the Mystics to the extra pass they love. The idea is to disrupt the Mystics' flow by confusing them.
"Yet that hasn't actually happened, and Emma Meesseman is the reason. No matter what they do, the Aces cannot account for her. None of their bigs are able to step out and contest her sweet jump shot."
Delle Donne, too, pointed out on the ESPN broadcast after the game that the Mystics are better with Meesseman on the floor.
Washington almost saw history repeat itself when guard Kristi Toliver suffered a knee injury on Aug. 8, and her ability to return to the floor for this Mystics Finals run has been huge—especially so considering she is the only member of the team to have won a WNBA championship, per The Athletic's Lindsay Gibbs.
Unlike last year, the Mystics are taking a shot at the crown at full strength.
Head-to-head in the regular season, the Sun took two of three games from the Mystics. However, most recently, on June 29, Washington blew out Connecticut 102-59. It's a clean slate once the Finals begin.