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Analysis: Dream evened series with Mystics, Storm pushed Mercury to the brink in Game 2 semifinals series

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Can momentum shifts from Tuesday help Seattle seal the deal against Phoenix — and Atlanta get an edge against Washington — on Friday, in Game 3?

Elena Delle Donne was injured on Monday in Game 2 of the Mystics’ semifinals series against the Dream.
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There were two WNBA Semifinals games on Tuesday. Once again, both games were close in the fourth quarter but this time the outcomes were very different. Let’s review.


Elena Delle Donne injured in Mystics’ 78-75 loss to the Dream

The Dream and Mystics played an even game that was exciting to the very end. Elena Delle Donne scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for Washington while Alex Bentley scored 22 off the bench for Atlanta.

There were six lead changes and 14 ties in the game, but the fourth quarter was when this game changed for the worst for the Mystics.

Delle Donne injured left knee, future status uncertain

Late in the fourth quarter, Delle Donne drove to the basket, but her foot slipped, her knee buckled and she had to leave the game. If Delle Donne tore a knee ligament, she will definitely miss the rest of the season.

However, Delle Donne missing the rest of the playoffs doesn’t necessarily mean the Mystics’ season is effectively over. They still have more than enough talent to win this series and make their first WNBA Finals. The Dream’s youth and inexperience were on full display throughout this season, and Washington took full advantage.

That said, Delle Donne is able to walk, and perhaps her injury is not as bad as it initially appeared.

Kristi Toliver had a tough finish

Toliver scored 16 points on Tuesday which is a good night for her. However, she missed one of two free throws with less than a minute remaining in the game and an opportunity to tie the game at 76. If that wasn’t enough, Toliver had a chance to score a game-tying three at the buzzer but missed.

After the game, Toliver was noticeably distraught at the postgame press conference where Natasha Cloud tried to console her.

Making big-time shots is Toliver’s mantra. She’ll need to make more of them in Game 3 on Friday to reclaim the momentum for the Mystics and give this team a chance to win the series.


Storm hold on to beat the Mercury, 91-87 — in overtime

Seattle won their second game of the semifinals series against Phoenix, and looked like they were going to get a blowout win. Instead, the Mercury made a big comeback to extend the game. Breanna Stewart scored 27 points to lead the Storm while Diana Taurasi added 28 for the Mercury, with a ton of those points coming in the Mercury’s late-game effort to make it a contest.

Taurasi did Taurasi things to extend the game to OT

After being down but double digits for much of the game, Phoenix clawed back in and the Mercury saw themselves down by three points when Taurasi made a game-tying three-pointer with just 3.6 seconds left, as Sue Bird’s defensive efforts provided unsuccessful.

That shot also earned the approval of retired NBA player Kobe Bryant.

The game-tying three was the highlight, but Taurasi also scored 14 of her 28 points for Phoenix in the fourth quarter while shooting 78.6 percent from the field. The Storm just scored 12.

Phoenix was not aggressive enough in overtime due to foul trouble

After the exciting finish in regulation, the Mercury ultimately lost the game even though the Storm did not shoot particularly well from the field in the extra quarter. But the Storm made 6-of-8 free throws in extra time, while Phoenix failed to make any shots. Foul trouble contributed significantly to Phoenix’s unfortunate end, as Griner fouled out of the game early in overtime and Taurasi committed five personal fouls.