Story By: Erin Zollars
Photos By: Sol Tucker
What do you do when you are pushed out of your own home court in the middle of a summer renovation? You come out like you own the place you have rented for the remainder of the playoffs just as the Mystics did tonight in a 96-64 commanding performance over the Los Angeles Sparks.
Elena Delle Donne continued her MVP like season leading the way for the Mystics with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Washington (23-12) will open a best-of-five series against Atlanta on Sunday, aiming for its first WNBA Finals appearance.
LaToya Sanders and Ariel Atkins each scored 14 points for No. 3-seeded Washington. The Mystics had 28 assists on 37 field goals, leading to six players in double-figure scoring.
Delle Donne made a baseline jumper to close a 15-2 run for a 21-13 lead and the Mystics extended it to 27-16 at the end of the first quarter. It was 50-29 at halftime and 75-46 entering the fourth quarter in a game where the Sparks failed to get anything going that would have remotely made them look less than tired in this game.
For the Sparks, this team is just two years removed from a WNBA championship and it looked like relying Candice Parker was just not working and the absence of any bench play was the difference for the Sparks and the ability to get close enough to even cut the game within striking distance.
“I think this game tonight shows how much this team wants to win a championship. Everyone is focused and now we go to Atlanta to play one of the best teams in the WNBA, we have to be ready for what they are going to bring come Sunday, said Mystics Forward Elena Delle Donne.
Candace Parker scored 16 points for Los Angeles (19-16). Nneka Ogwumike and Chelsea Gray — part of the Sparks’ top-three scorers — combined for 0-of-9 shooting in the first half.