The Washington Mystics will host the Los Angeles Sparks in the second round of the WNBA Playoffs on Thursday. The game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.
— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) August 22, 2018
There will be a new WNBA champion, as the Sparks downed the defending champions, the Minnesota Lynx, in the single-elimination first-round game, 75-68 in what was a rematch of the two underperforming finalist from a year ago.
The Mystics had earned a bye into the second round finishing third in the WNBA standings with a 22-12 record. The 22 wins tied a franchise record set in 2010. In the more recent adopted playoff format that started in 2016, Washington was set to play the lowest remaining seed after the pair of single-elimination first- pround games played on Tuesday. No. 5 seed Phoenix Mercury rolled past the No. 8 seed Dallas Wings 101-73. Phoenix will travel to play Connecticut on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.
The outcome left Washington to play the winner of the Sparks-Lynx battle. The Mystics won the season series against the Sparks 2-1, including a 69-67 win at Capital One Arena on Aug. 17.
The Sparks are led by Candace Parker, who averaged 17.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.1 blocks. Nneka Ogwumike at 15.5 points and Chelsea Gray at 14.9 points round out players who averaged double figures in points. Gray led the Sparks with 26 points and six assists in Tuesday’s win over the Lynx.
First Team All-WNBA Elena Delle Donne leads the Mystics. She had an MVP caliber season averaging 20.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while shooting 40.5 percent from three.
A win will send the Mystics into the WNBA Semifinals for a best-of-five series against the No. 2 seed Atlanta Dream.