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Preview: Semifinals action continues with Game 2 of Mystics-Dream, Mercury-Storm series

One home team has the edge, while the other is playing from behind. Here’s what these teams need to do before switching venues for Game 3.

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Elena Delle Donne looks to stay in control against the Atlanta Dream in tonight’s Game 2 of the Semifinals.
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The semifinals of the 2018 WNBA Playoffs continue Tuesday night with two late games. Here’s how to watch.

No. 3 Washington Mystics (22-12) at No. 2 Atlanta Dream (23-11)

The Mystics lead the best-of-five semifinals series, 1-0.

When: Tuesday, August 28 at 8 p.m. ET

Where: McCamish Pavilion, Atlanta | TICKETS

How to watch: ESPN2

Injuries: Nothing new to report.

Storylines to follow

Stay hot, Elena Delle Donne.

With 32 points and 13 rebounds in Sunday’s Game 1, including 10-of-10 made free throws, Delle Donne should have a giant target on her back going into Game 2. But then, that’s normally the case when teams face the formidable EDD.

That’s why it’s imperative that the Dream figure her out — at least temporarily — before the series moves to Washington and the Mystics get a chance to sweep the series at home. The Mystics played with a very short bench Sunday, needing just six of eight players to score as Delle Donne led the show.

Meanwhile, the Dream played just seven total players, with all seven scoring and Alex Bentley coming off the bench to lead the team with 19 points. They even shot better from the field than the Mystics, who didn’t break 40 percent. But the Mystics made 11 threes-pointers and all 20 of their free-throw attempts in an effort that illustrated how a team can make up for a lackluster performance in one area with a stellar performance in another.

If the Dream want to win on Tuesday and tie up the series before heading north, they’ll have to match the Mystics wherever they excel — combating open looks from three, limiting shooting fouls and maybe, just maybe, paying a little more attention to the star player running the show. Because if Delle Donne keeps getting the chance, she’ll easily have her way with anyone who opposes her.

No. 5 Phoenix Mercury (20-14) at No. 1 Seattle Storm (26-8)

The Storm lead the best-of-five semifinals series, 1-0.

When: Tuesday, August 28 at 10 p.m. ET

Where: KeyArena, Seattle | TICKETS

How to watch: ESPN2

Injuries: Nothing new to report.

Storylines to follow

The power trio of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner might have been the one to watch during the regular season, but so far in this series, it’s all about Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd and Natasha Howard.

Seattle’s trio combined for 71 points to the still-dominant Mercury trio’s 65. However, Griner had some foul trouble to contend with, as did Taurasi, who picked up a technical foul at the end of the first half that gave the Storm a quick free point and possession before the whistle blew to start the second half. This isn’t to say that this was the only reason the Mercury couldn’t complete their late comeback, but having to play cautiously because of fouls doesn’t help matters.

Both teams were strong from the free-throw line in Game 1, missing just one shot apiece, and both made 10 or more threes; the Three-Point Machine, Storm, had the edge, 13-10. But it was the ability of the Storm to hold on late that ended up making the difference, despite giving up all of the extra eight-point cushion they’d made for themselves in the third quarter.

Going into Game 2, the concerns will be much of the same — keep Taurasi and Griner out of foul trouble, and keep Stewart hot and her teammates will follow. The Mercury also struggled to keep the ball, turning it over 16 times on Sunday to the Storm’s 11, certainly a factor in what ended up being a rather close loss.

Led by veteran guard Sue Bird, who was not absent in the win, adding 10 points and a game-high 10 assists, the Storm are still a relatively young team with little playoff experience. But if they can continue to find ways to best more experienced players like the Mercury’s core trio, then that not only says a lot about their earned top seed in this playoffs, but also the number of top seeds they can expect in the coming years.