11 October 2019 04:46
The Washington Mystics won their first WNBA championship, getting 22 points from Emma Meesseman and 21 from banged-up league MVP Elena Delle Donne to beat the Connecticut Sun 89-78 in Game 5 of the Finals on Thursday night. It was a fitting conclusion to an entertaining series and WNBA season. This was the seventh series in league history that had gone to a deciding Game 5, and the home team has won five of them. Delle Donne, who has been dealing with a herniated disk in her back, scored four points during a decisive 8-0 run that gave the Mystics an 80-72 lead with under three minutes left. But it was Meesseman, the soft-spoken Belgian who unveiled a new, aggressive "Playoff Emma" persona during the title run, who was named MVP of the Finals.
Elena Delle Donne #11 of Washington Mystics celebrates after the Mystics defeated the Connecticut Sun to win the 2019 WNBA Finals at St Elizabeths East Entertainment & Sports Arena on October 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Rob Carr / Getty Images Meesseman missed last season while playing with the Belgian national team. "I don't think I'm the missing piece. I'm their teammate (and did what) I need to do help my team win a championship. This is my family right here," she said.
The victory gave coach Mike Thibault his first WNBA championship. The league's all-time winningest coach had reached the Finals three times in his career — twice with Connecticut — and last season with Washington, but fell short each time. The Washington Mystics used a strong fourth-quarter surge and the interior dominance of series MVP Emma Meess eman to overcome a second-half Connecticut Sun lead, then confidently held the relentless visitors at arm's length down the stretch to win Game 5, 89–78, and capture the franchise's first ever WNBA championship. The Mystics overcame the horribly timed herniated disc of captain Elena Delle Donne, and a tenacious Sun team led by Jonquel Jones and Courtney Williams, to ultimately do what they were supposed to do, which was finally deliver long-awaited titles to Delle Donne and head coach Mike Th ibault. Th ibault, the winningest coach in WNBA history, has been named Coach of the Year three times, but had never won a championship before Thursday night.