PLAYOFF PREVIEW: The Washington Mystics - D.C.’s last chance at a title in 2022
Updated: Aug 29, 2022
The Washington Commanders missed the playoffs, the Caps lost in the opening round, the Wizards weren’t close, the Nationals and D.C. United are both in last place and the Washington Spirit isn’t much better.
The only bright spot in DMV professional sports right now is its WNBA team, the Washington Mystics (22-14), who begin a playoff run on Thursday night in Seattle in Game 1 of the best of 3 series against the Storm (22-14).
Game 1, Thursday night at 10pm ET and Game 2, Sunday at 4pm ET, will be in Seattle. Washington will have to win one game on the road in order to force a decisive Game 3 back in D.C.
The season series was won by the Storm, 2-1, including a 14-point drubbing in Seattle in late June.
The Mystics head into the postseason potentially without star player, Natasha Cloud, who suffered an injury in the regular season finale on Sunday. It was a meaningless game, with the team having already locked up the 5-seed for the playoffs.
It’s unclear whether Cloud will play or not. Luckily, the team has been steadily improving down the stretch, winning seven of its final ten games and developing depth along the way.
“We knew we wanted to play with more pace in these past few games and we wanted our defense to be cleaner,” said star forward and lead scorer Elena Delle Donne (17.2 PPG). “Obviously, there were a couple of mishaps here and there, but to finish it off, to stay focused, knowing what’s next is always big to see.”
Mystics head coach Mike Thibault is the winningest coach in WNBA history. Formerly of the Connecticut Sun, Thibault has been in Washington since 2013 and has only missed the postseason twice, including two WNBA Finals appearances and the franchises only championship in 2019, ironically over his former team, Connecticut.
For Washington, there’s nobody you’d rather have in charge. They have a roster built for the postseason, able to easily spread the wealth with six players averaging 8 or more points per game.
Photo: Nick Wass - AP
The team hasn’t won a playoff series since hoisting the championship trophy in 2019 and they missed the playoffs last year entirely.
Not that they need more motivation, but they are truly the last chance to bring D.C. a title in 2022.