Now, the series is all tied up at 2-2, and will head back to Washington on Thursday night for a winner-take-all Game 5.
Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud said that competing in Thursday's WNBA Finals Game 5 (ESPN2, 8 p.m. ET) against the Connecticut Sun will be "an all-time high" for her career.
"I thought we did about everything we could do wrong in the first quarter", Thibault said. "When we're all locked in and on the same page, we just move in unison". "We would make a three, they'd answer with a three", Sun coach Curt Miller said.
For the fourth time in five seasons, the WNBA Finals will go to Game 5. "If you grew up a basketball fan, these are the moments that you dreamed of". She put up 13 points in a Game 3 win and 11 in Tuesday's loss, sacrificing her post-up game staying mostly on the perimeter to space out the Sun defense.
Washington opened a five-point advantage early in the fourth quarter before the Sun rallied to close the deal. After three quarters, it was all tied at 68-68. With their season on the line, the Sun responded.
The Sun's Jasmine Thomas hit two free throws with 18.4 seconds left to extend the lead to 89-86 before Cloud missed from 10-feet on a drive into the lane with 12 seconds left.
In each of the past two seasons, the Sun finished with the No. 4 overall seed, which meant they got a bye to the second round of the playoffs, but were still forced to play a single-elimination game. Final Score Prediction, Washington Mytics win, but fail to cover, 84-79.
Aerial Powers came off the bench to lead Washington with 15 points.
"I think we also had a few open shots that we didn't hit", Powers said. "We know if we can get stops and secure rebounds that we're able to get out and run". Alyssa Thomas contributed 17 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.
After a timeout, Cloud drove to the basket but missed the shot and Alyssa Thomas corralled the rebound and hit the first of two free throws to seal the win.
When Rowe asked Thomas what CT needs to do to be successful on Thursday, Thomas said, "Coming out in the first quarter with the same energy we had today". She played 30 minutes Tuesday and sounded hopeful about playing Thursday night. "Game 5 is gonna be really fun, and we know we can play a whole lot better, a lot smarter ..." They took a huge body blow from the Mystics in the third quarter, and almost fell apart once again, but recovering from that only made their win more impressive. "They weren't letting us sit outside and shoot 3s". Delle Donne scored 11 points and had five rebounds. "Can't rely on being home to get it done". "It's because of style of play, being true to us and playing our game". They led 32-17 headed into the second. But the Sun refused to be extinguished, taking a 15-point lead into the second quarter.
It was do-or-die for the Sun on Tuesday after CT found itself in a 2-1 hole to the Mystics following a crushing Game 3 loss to Washington on Sunday.
The Mystics quickly took their first lead since the first minute of Tuesday's game, going up 74-68 early in the fourth. CT was ahead by 12 in the second game and Washington by 15 in Game 3.
CT took 26 free throws to only 13 by Washington, with Delle Donne and Meesseman only combining for three attempts.
The deciding fifth game will be played Thursday in Washington, where the Mystics are a solid 17-4 this season.
"I'm struggling how to understand how CT played with one foul in the fourth quarter", he said.
Plus, even if Thomas wasn't efficient from the field, she was almost ideal from the free throw line. "If we could have gone to the line a couple times, we could have slowed the momentum down a little bit".
Game 5 between CT and Washington will be Thursday at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.
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