The top-seeded Seattle Storm have taken a 2-0 lead in the 2018 WNBA Finals over the Washington Mystics, who are in their first Finals in franchise history. The Storm are one win away from their third WNBA championship in as many tries, having previously won it all in 2004 and 2010.
In Game 1, the Storm defeated the Mystics 89-76. Jewell Loyd led Seattle with 23 points behind an impressive 9-12 from the field, including a perfect 3-3 from beyond the arc. Loyd also posted five rebounds, three steals, and two assists to round out her impressive night. Breanna Stewart was not far behind, posting 22 points of her own to go along with five assists and five rebounds. Natasha Howard put up 19 points on an incredibly efficient 8-9 shooting the ball. Howard brought down five rebounds and blocked two shots.
On the Mystics side of the floor, Ariel Atkins led her team with 23 points, shooting 10-14 from the floor. Aside from her, Natasha Cloud and Elena Delle Donne were the only other Washington players in double digits. Cloud scored 11 points and Delle Donne put up 10 points, which is a significant departure from her typical output.
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Game 2 was a much closer contest. The Storm escaped with a 75-73 victory over the Mystics, led by 25 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals from Stewart. Howard scored eight points but highlighted her night by bringing down a game-high 13 rebounds. Delle Donne’s 17 points led the Mystics, who had a much more balanced scoring attack in Game 2. Washington got 15 points apiece from Atkins and Kristi Toliver. The difference in the game came in the form of three-point shooting. The Storm shot a pretty mediocre 6-23 (26%) from beyond the arc in Game 2. The Mystics, however, took 16 threes and missed all 16. If they hit just one of those 16 three-pointers, they would have this series tied up at a game apiece, headed home to the nation’s capital. Instead, they go back home facing elimination on Wednesday night.
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The Storm have had two very consistent scoring options in Stewart and Loyd throughout the playoffs. Washington has struggled to find their consistency in scoring. Delle Donne has been struggling through a knee injury. Atkins has been one of the only consistent scorers during the Finals for the Mystics. Washington has to find a way to slow down Stewart for the rest of the series if they want any chance of forcing a Game 4 or 5.