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Recap: Mystics and Storm make WNBA Finals with exciting Game 5 wins

The Mystics beat the Dream 86-81 and the Storm beat the Mercury 94-84 to advance to the WNBA Finals in dramatic fashion.

Elena Delle Donne did masterful, double-double work in the semifinals ... on a hobbled knee.
Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

The WNBA Finals is now set after an exciting finish to both WNBA semifinals series. The Mystics and Storm won their Game 5s and will face each other in this year’s WNBA Finals. Here’s how they got there!

Mystics defeat Dream 86-81, advance to first WNBA Finals in franchise history

Ariel Atkins scored 20 points and Kristi Toliver added 19 more to lead the Mystics over the Dream and to their first WNBA Finals. Elena Delle Donne added 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as she recovers from her left knee injury. Alex Bentley led Atlanta’s scorers with 16 off the bench.

This game featured nine ties and 14 lead changes throughout. Neither team led by double digits. It was just that close.

There were times during this game when Washington looked like they could end up losing. Atlanta took a quick six-point lead in the middle of the third quarter. But Tianna Hawkins scored eight unanswered points to give Washington the lead before the end of the period.

Then in the fourth quarter, Atlanta was again able to grab a lead with just 6:43 left in the game. But the Mystics made runs when it mattered. They were able to get it to 78-71 with just under 4 minutes left and held on the rest of the way.

Either way, Atkins is glad to leave with the win and Head Coach Mike Thibault stated that he loves her. Mystics fans do too!

Storm beat Mercury, 94-84, thanks to Sue Bird’s late takeover

Sue Bird scored 22 points, 14 of them in the last six minutes of the fourth quarter. Twelve of those fourth-quarter points came from threes, and they were clutch. In fact, she single-handedly turned the game around from what looked like a possible loss, “giving” Diana Taurasi a 14-0 record in playoff elimination games, into the Storm’s third berth into the WNBA Finals.

What’s even more dramatic about Bird was that she wasn’t shooting well from three until the fourth quarter.

And to add to all of that, Bird took issue with a jump ball call when she claimed that a Phoenix player messed up her face, which was in a mask! In short, don’t make Sue Bird angry. She may not have won the MVP award this season, but Bird is still as good as any scoring guard out there. Without Bird’s takeover tonight, the Mercury could have ultimately won, considering that the fourth quarter had five lead changes of its own.

For the Mercury, every starter scored in double figures, and Brittney Griner led them with 21 points.