2019 WNBA Finals: Connecticut Sun vs Washington Mystics

Pablo's TB Lover

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Sep 10, 2017
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Well a local-ish team in the Connecticut Sun are preparing to play the Washington Mystics for the WNBA championship, with the best of 5 series tipping off from DC on Sunday 9/29 at 3pm. My wife is a season ticket holder of the Sun since the franchise relocated from Orlando in 2003. So needless to say we are splitting TVs between 3pm when the basketball game starts until the Patriots game ends.

This series will certainly be a contrast, with Washington owning the league's best offense and one of the highest point differentials in WNBA history. They also have the preeminent star in the game in Elena Della Donne, who the Mystics received in a trade from Chicago in 2017 after she expressed desire in being closer to her Delaware home. Della Donne averaged around 20 ppg and 8 rpg this season.

Meanwhile, the Connecticut Sun do not have a single star but a roster full of players that play great as a team, as well as the league's #1 defense. In fact, this has become their rallying cry as described in the WNBA story below. Notably, only a day after their social media team launched a "DisrespeCT" campaign when many predicted that the Sun as the second-seeded team was not only absent from the championship conversation but also picked to lose the semifinals against the Los Angeles Sparks, one of their players Jasmine Thomas appeared on an ESPN studio show for the first round of the WNBA Playoffs. With her sitting there as the 3rd person at the desk, the studio host managed to say the Sun do not really have any star power but they have a bunch of great "role players", quite the backhanded compliment. You can see on the video Jasmine had the iciest look on her face and internalized her desire to smack the dude down. This matchup has been compared to the Pistons-Lakers Finals of 2004 as a model of the contrasting styles.

The Sun do have Jonquel Jones, who got her break after the Sun traded their best player from last year, center Chiney Ogwumike, to the LA Sparks to play with her sister (whom they just defeated as mentioned above). Jones has said she models her game after Kevin Durant, and at 6'-6" about equivalent to 6'-10" or 6'-11" for the men's game she exhibits a lot of his inside/outside game to a lot less production. Unfortunately her actual 3-point shooting is closer to Antoine Walker's at 30% but she does just enough long-range shooting to keep the D honest. The trash talker and "grit and balls" player on the team is Courtney Williams. She has averaged 19 points/game during the playoffs and is hungry to take the big shot. Then after each game when interviewed on ESPN2 she made sure to mention that this performance isn't bad "for a bunch of role players." And finally, Alyssa Thomas is kind of the Ben Simmons of the team. She is a power forward by position due to height and body but is the team's best driver and distributor on the fast break and finishes well around the basket. She cannot shoot a lick from the outside, but of note is that Thomas has TWO messed up labrums in her shoulders which will get surgically repaired either after this season or after her overseas season in the Czech Republic which pays her more handsomely. So her shooting is even worse now and poor Alyssa looks like a wounded animal shooting free throws, to a tune of 49.6% accuracy (she shot around 80% back during her college career).

As far as coaching, that is another interesting matchup. Mike Thibault, head coach of the Mystics, coached the Sun from the franchise start in 2003 until after the 2012 season when he joined the Mystics. He is the winningest coach in WNBA history but has yet to win an elusive championship, reaching the finals and losing with the Sun in 2004 and 2005 then with the Mystics last year (2018). Thibault had some previous jobs in the NBA, including director of scouting and assistant coach for the Lakers between 1980-1982, and director of scouting and assistant on the Bulls from 1982-1986. The Bulls drafted Michael Jordan and Charles Oakley during his tenure. Although if the Mystics win it will be seen as a crowning of Della Donne as the deserving champion, it will be a huge burden relieved for Thibault who is nearly 70 years old and will likely not be coaching much longer. Curt Miller, coach of the Sun, put together a great college career mostly with Bowling Green then Indiana. Although Miller gets more forceful time to time, he strikes me as a Woody Allen type pacing the sidelines looking respectfully anxious: "Oh geez ladies, you need to box out. Aw shucks ref, watch the flying elbow."

For NBA tie-ins: the Mystics have had John Wall attending a playoff game I saw on TV. During a playoff game the Sun had Tacko Fall lift a kid up to dunk during a timeout break, and Kara Lawson the Celtics newest assistant who last played for the Sun in 2013 was also in attendance. Advantage Sun.

Anyways, looking forward to the series and feel free to game thread here if you choose to watch. These are the pertinent preview stories I found elsewhere:

https://www.theringer.com/2019/9/27/20886208/wnba-finals-preview-washington-mystics-connecticut-sun-elena-delle-donne
https://www.wnba.com/news/disrespect-fuels-sun-to-wnba-finals/
 

Ale Xander

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Oct 31, 2013
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Go EDD, go Mystics!

(IIRC she wanted to be traded to the Mystics to better be able to care for her sister)
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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Go EDD, go Mystics!

(IIRC she wanted to be traded to the Mystics to better be able to care for her sister)
Yes that is my recollection. It was the same desire to be close to family and her sister that caused EDD to transfer from UConn before her college career got going.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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Hope EDD is good to go Game 3, I'm rooting for the Sun but would also hate for her limitations going forward to be the reason the Mystics lose.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
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Sep 27, 2016
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That was a great game.

Loved the shots of John Wall and the Wizards partying at the end from courtside seats. Closest they're gonna come to a championship.