The number one seed in the Seattle Storm took on the fifth seed Phoenix Mercury while the second seed Atlanta Dream took on the number three seeded Washington Mystics.
Washington Mystics vs. Atlanta Dream
The Mystics defeated the Dream 87-84 as Elena Delle Donne led all scorers with 32 points to help the Mystics get the game one win in Atlanta.
Washington began the game with an early eight-point lead. Atlanta stayed the course and got themselves back into the game on an 11-2 run to tie at 24 at the end of the first quarter. For the Dream, Alex Bentley went on to score 10 points in the span of three minutes. The Mystics came back into the game with a long three-point by Kristi Toliver to give them a lead.
Halfway through the second quarter, the Mystics held onto a six-point lead. The Mystics extended their lead to 10 but then their lead dwindled to single-digits. A Bentley jumper allowed the Dream to get within five points. The Mystics did go onto to miss six straight shots in a row.
The Mystics did gather themselves on the offensive end and went on a 7-1 run to end the half. Though the Dream were down 11 at the half, the Mystics allowed the Dream to get to the line frequently by committing 11 fouls.
Atlanta shot 3-13 from beyond the arc in 23% shooting.
Coming out of the halftime break, Atlanta was determined to get back into the game as they trickled the deficit down. Washington responded by draining 10-18 three-pointers.
Atlanta showed some aggressiveness on the boards and defensive end despite being 3-14 from three-point range.
The Mystics built a 13-point lead towards the end of the third quarter. This game was a game of runs. After Elizabeth Williams made her free-throws to bring the Dream within six, the team went on a 13-4 run.
Monique Billings had a quiet game but with a three-point play, her aggressiveness gave Atlanta some energy heading into the fourth quarter. With a crowd of defenders around her, Billings was able to grab the board and make her layup.
Bentley showed up once again to bring the Dream within two to start the fourth quarter.
With five minutes left, the Mystics were able to get their lead to ten. Tiffany Hayes was able to make a much needed three to bring the Dream within seven.
Atlanta was down nine points with two minutes left to go but managed to get the Washington lead to three on a Hayes shot. The Dream were able to buckle down on defense in making stops. Jessica Breland missed the potentially game-tying shot that allowed the Mystics go 1-0 in this series matchup.
For the Mystics, Ariel Atkins finished with 15 points while Natasha Cloud scored 13 points and Tianna Hawkins finished with 11 points. On the Dream’s side, Alex Bentley and Tiffany Hayes led the way with 19 and 17 points, respectively.
Phoenix Mercury vs. Seattle Storm
The Seattle Storm pulled out a 91-87 win against the Phoenix Mercury behind the league MVP, Breanna Stewart’s 28 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.
From the start, both Seattle and Phoenix played a fast-paced game and took shot for shot. Seattle had an early four point lead with 5:32 remaining in the first quarter. Natasha Howard and Jewell Loyd led the charge for the Storm.
All of the starters shot a three-pointer in the first.
Diana Taurasi responded to a Stewart three-pointer by scoring five-straight points. Brittney Griner also had four early assists and two blocks in the first quarter. Phoenix shot 5-8 from the three. DeWanna Bonner and Taurasi led the Mercury in double-digit scoring.
Stewart and Howard contributed to five Seattle points then when on a 6-0 run, Sue Bird scored four of those six points. To end the first half, Phoenix was 6-11 and Seattle was 8-14 in three-point shooting.
At the half, Stewart already had 19 points for the Storm and DeWanna Bonner led the Mercury with 17 points. The Storm led at the half with four points.
The Storm led as much as 16 points in the third quarter and the fast pace kept up for them. Seattle went on a 13-2 run as well.
Seattle was up 70-56 with under five minutes in the quarter and Phoenix had seven turnovers in the game at that point.
On a nifty Crystal Langhorne shot, the Storm were able to extend their lead to 12 at the end of the third quarter.
Phoenix rallied their way back into the game towards the end of the game in going on an 8-3 run that was capped with a Taurasi three-pointer. A Bonner cutting layup cut the deficit to four with 2:07 left in the game.
Loyd hit a pull-up jump shot to give the Storm another four-point lead with one minute left in the game at 91-87.
Three Storm players finished the game with 20+ points on Stewart’s 28 points, Howard’s 20 points, and Loyd’s 23 points. For the Mercury, Bonner finished the game with 27 points, Taurasi with 25 points, and Griner finished with 13 points.
Game 2 of the semifinals continue on Tuesday and will air on ESPN2. The Mystics and Dream play at 8:00 PM ET followed by the Mercury and Storm at 10:00 PM ET.