Elena Delle Donne entered Game 2 of the WNBA Finals for the Washington Mystics wearing a sleeve rather than the bulky brace on her hyperextended left knee. She moved much more freely than we saw in Game 1 of the Finals (and in Games 4 and 5 of the semifinals), to finish the first half with 12 points.
Ariel Atkins did not have a high-scoring first half as she did in Game 1, but she was aggressive on both ends of the floor nonetheless, and Kristi Toliver finally found her shot in this game to give the Mystics the lead entering halftime. Washington had to overcome a double-digit deficit to get out in front of Seattle, however, as the Mystics were out-rebounded 12-20 in the first half.
The Storm started the second half blazing, with quick buckets by Jewel Loyd for the Storm to regain the lead. The Mystics then went on a 7-0 run to take it right back. Sue Bird went to the bench with 2:50 left in the third quarter after picking up her third personal foul. But Loyd stepped right up with big baskets to pull it even, chipping in a total of 11 points in the third quarter. The teams traded baskets to keep it within two points, either way. A basket by Delle Donne, and one, put the Mystics up by five points — the team’s largest lead of the series.
The Mystics finished the third quarter with a three-point advantage, but Loyd opened the final period with a quick basket, to pull the KeyArena crowd right back into it. The Storm then went on a 7-0 run to gain a four-point advantage with 7:50 left in the game. Bird re-entered the game at the seven minute mark and banked a three-pointer from well beyond the arc to send the Seattle crowd into a frenzy and the Mystics to a five-point deficit. Two baskets by Atkins and one by LaToya Sanders pulled Washington to within one point with just over three minutes left in the game.
With the Storm up by three points with less than a minute in the game, Toliver connected with a basket to close the lead to one point. A foul against the Mystics allowed Breanna Stewart to shoot free throws — she missed them both — giving Washington the ball with 16.4 seconds left in the game. Toliver lost the handle on the ball, Seattle got the ball back, Alysha Clark made free throws and the Storm got the two-point win and a 2-0 series lead.
Stewart, the veritable workhorse of the Seattle Storm, scored a game-high 25 points.