The No. 4 Las Vegas Aces are down 2-0 but return to the Mandalay Bay Events Center for Sunday’s semifinals Game 3, where they were 13-4 in the regular season. Unfortunately for the Aces, the No. 1 Washington Mystics had the best regular-season road record at 12-5.
The emergence of a consistent second option in Emma Meesseman has made the Mystics nearly unbeatable. Meesseman was the leading scorer in both semifinals games for Washington and set a career-high for points scored in the playoffs after just two games. For comparison, Meesseman scored 48 points in five playoff games in 2017, the last season she was in the WNBA, and has scored 57 points in two games this series.
Defensively, the Mystics allowed the Aces to shoot 50 percent in Game 1 and 49.3 percent in Game 2. The Mystics overcame these performances by their ability to shoot from long range, having hit eight more 3-point shots than the Aces. The Aces are likely unable to outshoot the Mystics and should direct their focus to the three-point line.
Lastly, the Aces likely need to change up their halftime routine, as they have come out flat in the third quarter. Las Vegas has been outscored 56-36 in the third quarter in the last two games. The Mystics need to keep it close down the stretch and let their closer, Elena Delle Donne, get the job done.
No. 4 Las Vegas Aces (0-2) vs. No. 1 Washington Mystics (2-0)
When: Sunday, Sept. 22, at 5 p.m. ET
Where: Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, NV
How to watch: ESPN2, TSN
Keys to the matchup: The Aces need to get the Mystics off the three-point line. That has been the difference in this series. The Mystics need to get the crowd out of it early and that will happen by forcing the Aces into poor shots, something they have been relatively unable to do so far.