- Erica Blackburn
Mystics' season ended in a heartbreaking loss to the Lynx
The Washington Mystics lost to the Minnesota Lynx, 83-77, on Sunday evening and lost all chances at clinching the eighth spot in the playoffs. It's the first time Washington has missed the playoffs since 2016.
There were huge momentum swings in this game. The Mystics used a 15-0 run in the second quarter to take a 41-38 lead in the final minute of the half. But from that point until the end of the third quarter, Minnesota outscored the Mystics 30-10 to go up 10 entering the fourth quarter.
The Mystics cut a 12-point deficit with less than 4 1/2 minutes to go up 79-77 when Ariel Atkins made two free throws. Washington only made 7-22 three-pointers and also had 15 turnovers. One of those turnovers sealed the game when Myisha Hines-Allen tried to find Natasha Cloud but the ball was stolen and the Lynx knocked down four free throws for the win.
Washington was led by Natasha Cloud's 22 points. Ariel Atkins had 17 points while Tina Charles notched a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Aerial Powers, former Mystics player, had 27 points. Mystics defense held Sylvia Fowles to just eight points.
This season was riddled with injuries to key players such as Elena Delle Donne, who played one full game before aggravating her back injury. Also, head coach Mike Thibault missed the final two games of the season due to testing positive for COVID. The off-season begins now and it’ll be interesting to see where the Mystics go from here.
The New York Liberty needed Washington and Los Angeles to lose to get the last playoff spot. Both teams did and now Washington will be heading back to the blackboard to get ready for next season.