Despite being just 19-21 in the regular season, the Washington Mystics have advanced to the WNBA Playoffs.
Beginning Friday night, Washington will start in a best-of-three series against The New York Liberty. Washington is 2-2 against the Liberty this season.
It was Washington’s worst season since 2016, minus the COVID year. Under first-year Head Coach Eric Thibault, the Mystics will look to advance past the opening round of the WNBA Playoffs for the first time since 2019, when Washington brought home its only WNBA Championship.
Interestingly, one of the four games against New York was the regular season finale on September 10, a game Washington won 90-88 and secured its playoff berth in the process.
In the game, Brittney Sykes led the way, leading the team in points, rebounds and assists with 20-7-6, respectively.
What has really helped Washington is the late season return of Elena Delle-Donne. The Mystics veteran forward missed 17 games this season with an injury. In those 23 games in which Delle-Donne has played, the Mystics are 13-10.
While Delle-Donne was sidelined, it was guard Brittney Sykes who took over as the go-to option.
Playing all 40 games this season, Sykes averaged 15.9 PPG, 5 RPG, 3.8 APG and 2.1 SPG. Her steals numbers were second best in the WNBA in 2023.
This season, the Mystics excelled in three major categories. They finished 4th in the league in steals, largely thanks to Sykes. The team was efficient from the free throw line, with a 82.3% team average, good for 3rd in the WNBA. And finally, they lived and died by the three, knocking down 310 of them, the 5th best mark in the league.
If the Mystics want to go on a run as a 7-seed, they’ll need to knock down three’s and get to the foul line on offense, and create turnovers on defense. If they can do that and move past the first round, anything can happen.