The Washington Mystics, the defending 2019 WNBA Champions, clinched the final spot in the 2020 WNBA playoffs, on Sunday, September 13th, against the Atlanta Dream in an 85-78 victory in Bradenton, Florida. Four Mystics players ended the game in double figures, Ariel Atkins dropped a career high 26 pts, Myisha Hines-Allen had a double-double, 16 pts and 10 rebs, Emma Meesseman put up 14 pts and 7 asts and Kiara Leslie chipped in 11 pts to help the Mystics secure the 8th seed in the WNBA playoffs.
The Mystics are set to take on the No. 5 seed, Phoenix Mercury, in a single-elimination game Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 9:00 PM ET on ESPN2.
The Mercury have won their last seven of eight games of the regular season and the Mystics are on a four game winning streak. A few weeks ago the Mystics lost back-to-back games against the Mercury, 88-87 on August 23rd and 94-72 on Aug 28th. The Mercury has confirmed that All-star center Brittney Griner will not return to compete in the 2020 WNBA playoffs. She left the bubble around August 21st. However, the Mystics have to stop the “White Mamba” Diana Taurasi and slow down Skylar Diggins-Smith and Bria Hartley.
This season has been unconventional for the Mystics as they have been without reigning MVP Elena Delle Donne, Natasha Cloud, Tina Charles, and LaToya Sanders. Additionally, Aerial Powers left the bubble with a hamstring injury six games into the season. Throughout the 22-game WNBA regular season the Mystics have signed multiple new players prior to and during this season to help them shape their identity. Forward Emma Meesseman said, “We found our identity, so to have this as a result it’s just amazing that we were able to fight for something and have a goal that we were able to reach.”
Four years in a row, the Mystics have made it to the playoffs. Mystics Head Coach Mike Thibault stated, “It’s a great, great testament to how they’ve hung in. It’s just a wonderful feeling anytime you win. But to do it how we’ve done to get in, it’s a great feeling.”