sunny.png
Wednesday July 17th, 2019 7:03PM

Mystics rout Dream, forced deciding Game 5

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Elena Delle Donne wasn't about to let a knee injury sideline her again with the Washington Mystics season at stake.

She had 15 points and 10 rebounds in her return from a bone bruise in her left knee and the Mystics forced a decisive Game 5 with a 97-76 win over the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA semifinal series.

Delle Donne started, played 34 minutes, sank 3 of 5 three-point attempts and scored 11 points in the second half after sitting out Friday's 81-76 loss. She suffered the injury in the final minutes of Atlanta's 78-75 Game 2 victory.

"I would have killed coach (Mike Thibault) if he didn't let me play full out," Delle Donne said. "He knows. I gave him the look and he knew I was fully ready to go and wanted to be in there as much as I could."

The 2015 WNBA Most Valuable Player award winner sported a bulky brace on her left knee. She failed to score until less than four minutes remained in the first half, but her presence immediately helped open the floor for teammates. Washington shot 50 percent from the field overall and sank 12 of 26 from beyond the 3-point arc.

"Whether Delly is on crutches, it doesn't matter. If she's on the floor, they have to respect her and honor her," Kristi Toliver said. "That changes everything for everyone."

Toliver led the Mystics with 22 points as all five starters scored in double figures. Ariel Atkins scored 19 points, Natasha Cloud 13 and LaToya Sanders 10.

"Elena Delle Donne, she kind of sucks you in (defensively)," Dream guard Renee Montgomery said, "but they caught fire."

Tiffany Hayes, Montgomery, Brittney Sykes and Jessica Breland each scored 12 points for the Dream.

The series shifts back to Atlanta for the finale of the best-of-5 series on Tuesday. The Mystics have never reached the WNBA finals in the franchise's 21 seasons.

Atlanta remains one victory away from the franchise's fourth finals appearance and first since 2013.

While Washington welcomed the return of its best player, Atlanta remains without All-Star forward Angel McCoughtry, who suffered a knee injury Aug. 7 against Las Vegas. It also still has home-court advantage for the decisive game. The Dream, who closed the regular season winning 16 of 19 games, haven't lost two games in a row since June 27-29.

"If you told me in February or May or June, even in early July that we would have one game with a chance to go to the Finals I'd be pretty excited," Atlanta coach Nicki Collen said. "I certainly told (the players) we have to learn from this game, but we also have to flush. We've built up too much momentum to hang our heads."

The Mystics raced out to a 26-12 lead in the second quarter and entered halftime up 44-35. Toliver, who had only seven points on 3 of 15 shooting in Game 3 topped all scorers with 12 points in the first half.

Delle Donne's second 3-pointer stifled Atlanta's momentum after the Dream's 10-0 run cut Washington's lead to 62-57 with 2:04 left in the third. Washington pulled away with a 22-7 run starting the fourth quarter for its largest lead at 90-67.

"No one had to be Superwoman, but we just needed to get a little bit smarter and get back to getting stops," Delle Donne said as the postgame press conference ended. Toliver spoke up leaving the dais.

"But we got our Superwoman back."

TIP-INS

Toliver and Cloud, Washington's starting backcourt, combined to make 13 of 26 shots after finishing 4 of 22 in Game 3. ... The Mystics outrebounded the Dream 40-31 . Atlanta shot 14 of 25 on free throws. ... Washington turned Atlanta's nine first-half turnovers into 12 points while the Dream scored one point off the Mystics' eight miscues.

WHAT'S NEXT

The teams split the first two games in Atlanta, though Washington held a double-digit lead in Game 2 before losing. Delle Donne averaged 29.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in Atlanta.

© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Former GHS standout Thacker hired as new Georgia Tech DC
Former Gainesville High standout Andrew Thacker was named the new defensive coordinator by new new Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins Monday...
9:28PM ( 3 months ago )
Pacers beat Hawks for 5th consecutive victory
Myles Turner scored 20 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots in less than 24 minutes Monday, helping to lead the Indiana Pacers past Atlanta 116-108 before breaking his nose midway through the third quarter...
9:17PM ( 3 months ago )
PODCAST: Hard Left Turn with Brandon Reed and Pete McCole (12-31-18)
As we get ready to throw the checkered flag on the holiday season - and on 2018 - the Around The Track crew has worked to bring a little taste of Georgia Racing History...
8:00PM ( 3 months ago )
Sports
Jones disappointed to miss playoffs, likes Falcons' future
Every year Julio Jones puts up big numbers while the Atlanta Falcons fall short of a championship. And every year he puts a positive spin on what went wrong and what looks promising heading into next season...
7:05PM ( 3 months ago )
Quinn wants Falcons focused on details entering finale
Coach Dan Quinn isn't dwelling on how desperate the Atlanta Falcons are to avoid a 6-10 record...
7:24PM ( 3 months ago )
Ryan, Falcons hand Panthers 7th straight loss, 24-10
Matt Ryan threw for 239 yards and three touchdowns as the Atlanta Falcons handed the Carolina Panthers their seventh straight loss 24-10 on Sunday...
4:08PM ( 3 months ago )
Professional Sports
Dream fall to Mystics in series opener
Elena Delle Donne had 32 points and 13 rebounds, Ariel Atkins added 15 points and the Washington Mystics beat the Atlanta Dream 87-84 in the first game of a best-of-five WNBA semifinal on Sunday...
By The Associated Press
6:22PM ( 7 months ago )
Griner, Taurasi lead Mercury over Dream
Brittney Griner had 33 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks, and Diana Taurasi added 27 points and a career-high-tying 14 assists to help the Phoenix Mercury beat the Atlanta Dream 104-95 on Friday night...
By The Associated Press
10:28PM ( 8 months ago )
Dream's Montgomery hits 8 3s to tie WNBA record
Renee Montgomery hit eight 3-pointers to match to WNBA regular-season record and scored a season-high 30 points to help the Atlanta Dream beat the New York Liberty 86-77 on Sunday for their sixth straight victory...
By The Associated Press
7:07PM ( 8 months ago )
Dream rebound from dismal season, now WNBA title contender
Nicki Collen is now coaching the Dream , who have put their dismal 2017 campaign firmly in their rear-view mirror. Atlanta (19-10) is one of the league's hottest teams, winning 11 of its last 12 games and clinching a playoff berth with a victory Tuesday night..
By The Associated Press
9:02PM ( 8 months ago )
McCoughtry scores 21, 2nd-place Dream top Chicago
By The Associated Press
9:30PM ( 8 months ago )