Atlanta Dream Evens Series and Seattle Storm Takes the Lead

The Atlanta Dream evened the best of five series with the Washington Mystics 1-1 while the Seattle Storm are up 2-0 against the Phoenix Mercury.

Atlanta was able to bounce back in their win against Washington and Seattle held off Phoenix in an overtime win on Tuesday night.


Washington Mystics vs. Atlanta Dream

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The Atlanta Dream split their playoff series with the Washington Mystics in a 78-75 win. A block party by Jessica Breland was one of the highlights on the defensive end that allowed for the Dream to keep the Mystics from taking over the game.

Atlanta started the game off on a high note with four blocks on Washington. Brittany Sykes also scored five early points for the Dream in the midst of their five-point 11-6 lead.

Washington shot their way back into the game, scoring six straight points to get within one point to end the first quarter.

Alex Bentley continued where she left off from Game one in providing some instant offense for the Dream. Shortly after, Washington went on a 10-4 run be within a point again.

Both teams did not start the game off with a good scoring percentage as Washington was 37% and Atlanta was 35% in field goals.

Breland finished the first quarter with four points, rebounds, and blocks in a matter of seven minutes of playing. Imani McGee-Stafford, who did not play in game one, played good minutes for the Dream and had a +/- of 5 when on the floor. Breland assisted on a long dish to Bentley that led to a three-point shot to give the Dream a 26-23 lead with 5:46 left in the second quarter.

This game was continually back and forth as Washington got played themselves back into the game as they went on an 11-2 run over a span of four minutes. In this run, Elena Delle Donne made a running jump shot to give Washington a one-point lead just under three minutes left in the half. Washington was able to convert on two points from nine of Atlanta’s turnovers.

The Mystics’ run was halted on a Tiffany Hayes layup at the 1:09 mark of the quarter. Hayes scored the last four points for the Dream in the half.

Going into the half, Washington was able to hold onto a two-point lead as Elena Delle Donne and Hayes led their teams with 10 points each.

In the opening minutes of the second half, Delle Donne notched a double-double with her 10 points from the first half and her 10th rebound at 9:27 of the third quarter. The Mystics continued their scoring run 8-4 while turnovers hurt Atlanta during the run. Delle Donne made 3 three-pointers in a row and her last three happened under the five-minute mark to give the Mystics a six-point lead.

The Dream then went on a 12-2 run to give themselves a push to cut the Mystics’ lead down to single-digits then eventually tied the game at 58 all as Bentley split her free throws. Atlanta held their composure throughout the game and was able to move the ball to get quality shots.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Bentley was able to make a scooped layup to beat the shot clock buzzer.  Both teams went back in forth in scoring points. Atlanta forced Washington to make tough shots and made many defensive stops against them.

Though the Dream did make strides in the quarter, they still turned the ball over three times and was held scoreless for two minutes of play. Hayes went on to tie the game at 70 with a two-pointer with 2:48 left to play.

Kristi Toliver scored four-straight points to give the Mystics a two-point lead.

Bentley showed up once again for the Dream and made an important defensive stop in getting a steal on Ariel Atkins. Bentley also split her free throws to give Atlanta a three-point lead and seal the win.

Delle Donne left the game in the fourth quarter with a left knee injury as she finished the game with 27 points and 14 rebounds. Toliver finished the game with 16 points and three assists.

Bentley had her print all over this game as she finished the game with 22 points and two assists. Hayes scored 17 points as she racked up seven rebounds and had six assists.

The series will move from Atlanta to Washington D.C. on Friday.


Phoenix Mercury vs. Seattle Storm

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The Seattle Storm outlasted the Phoenix Mercury in a 91-87 victory. Seattle responded well to a Diana Taurasi three-pointer at the end of regulation that took the game to overtime.

Starting off in the first quarter, Brittney Griner played a better role in the game in contrast to her play in game one. This game started off again with a fast pace from both teams with Phoenix showing a better defensive effort in the first quarter as they kept the game close.

Seattle went on a 9-0 run in the second quarter. Storm rookie, Jordin Canada played quality minutes and made good shots for Seattle in the quarter and rest of the game. Jewell Loyd also picked up where she left off in game one as well. In contrary to game one in which the Storm’s bench scored just four points, their bench produced seven points early in the second quarter.

Seattle held an eight-point lead 30-22 just under five minutes left in the half. That lead was then extended to 11 as Breanna Stewart made a quick jumper with 3:44 left at 35-24.

The Storm ended the half with a smooth layup by Sue Bird to give Seattle a 12-point lead. Seattle outscored Phoenix 27-14 in the second quarter. The Storm also scored 12 points off six of Phoenix’s turnovers in the first half.

Seattle continued making plays on the offensive end of the floor and extended their lead on Phoenix to 18 points with a long jumper from Stewart at 6:11 in the third quarter. The Storm was making everything ranging from long three-pointers to mid-range shots to layups. Their lead went to 19, largest lead of the game, after a pair of Stewart free throws.

Seattle held their double-digit lead all through the fourth quarter until DeWanna Bonner made a running layup to make the lead nine on a Phoenix 10-2 run. The Mercury kept making shots and getting defensive stops on the Storm.

Taurasi made the Mercury’s first three-pointer of the game to cut the deficit to six with under two minutes left in regulation. Griner made it a four-point game with a turnaround two-pointer at the 52.9 mark. The Mercury were able to make it a three-point game 76-79 with under 10 seconds left. Taurasi made a go-ahead three-point shot to tie the game at 79 all to push for an overtime.

In overtime, Seattle was able to outscore Phoenix, 8-12. Bird gave the Storm a one-point 88-87 lead with 1:03 to go on a running layup. The Storm was able to extend the lead. Loyd split her free throws to give the Storm a two-point lead then Bird knocked down both of her free throws to seal the game.

The Mercury’s big three had 20+ point games. Taurasi finished with 28 points, six rebounds, and eight assists while her teammates Griner and Bonner scored 23 and 21 points, respectively.

Four of the Storm’s players finished the game with double-digit points. Stewart led the Storm in scoring with 27 points along with four rebounds. Bird finished the game with 19 points while Loyd had 13, Canada scored 12, and Natasha Howard finished with 10 points.

Seattle has the opportunity to advance to the finals with a potential win against the Mercury as the series now shifts to Phoenix on Friday.

The playoffs continue on Friday in a double-header on both ESPNews and NBA TV. Atlanta and Washington’s game will start at 8 PM ET then will be followed by Seattle and Phoenix at 10 PM ET.

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