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Two & Out: Mystics short playoff run comes to an end in Seattle

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

The Washington Mystics’ season came to an abrupt end Sunday night following a disappointing 97-84 loss at the hands of the Seattle Storm.

The Storm swept the best-of-3 series, winning Game 1 86-83 on Thursday night. The Mystics carried a one-point lead going to the fourth quarter in Game 1 but couldn’t hold on for the victory.

Photo: Joshua Huston - NBAE

Washington rode defense all year long, finishing as the best defense in the WNBA in the regular season.

That top defense did not show up in Game 2 as the Storm jumped to a ten point lead after one quarter on the way to a 13 point win.

For Seattle, star guard Sue Byrd, on the verge of retirement at season's end, scored 18 points and added 10 assists to lead the way.

Washington had six scorers finish in double figures, led by Natasha Cloud who finished with 21 points, including five 3’s, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Mystics close down the stretch.

By halftime, Washington was able to cut the deficit down to just two before the Storm came out of the locker room hot to reclaim its ten point advantage.

“They made a lot of tough shots with a hand in their face and that’s to their credit,” Mystics head coach Mike Thibault said following the season-ending defeat. “I didn’t think our defense was that bad for part of it, but every time I looked around, they’re knocking down some big shots. It’s why they have a chance to win a championship. Their offense is really good and they had a good game plan for us.”

The Mystics finish the season with a record of 22-14, its best mark since the 2019 WNBA championship season.

“I’m tired of talking about past years,” said Natasha Cloud, Washington’s Game 2 leading scorer. “I’m tired of talking about 2018, 2019. It’s 2022, and we just lost in the first round. We’re going to be better. That I can promise you. We’re going to be better.”

Unlike past years, the Mystics have something concrete to build on for next season. They have direction and they now have a roster full of players who have postseason experience. But that won’t make the waiting for 2023 any easier.

“The WNBA offseason, it seems like an eternity,” Thibault said.

With the Mystics eliminated, it solidifies an unsurprising but sobering fact: There will be no titles in D.C. in 2022, and it is unfortunately difficult to see that trend changing in 2023.

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