Mystics, Elena Delle Donne win first WNBA championship

Led by Elena Delle Donne and Emma Meesseman in a decisive Game 5 Thursday night, the Washington Mystics are WNBA champions for the first time in franchise history.

In a Game 5 that featured more ties (15) and lead changes (nine) than the rest of the 2019 WNBA Finals combined, the Washington Mystics were able to pull away in the fourth quarter at home Thursday night, earning an 89-78 victory to win their first championship in franchise history.

The Mystics were led by the 2019 MVP, Elena Delle Donne, who finished with a 21 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Despite not being 100 percent because of a herniated disc in her back, Delle Donne shot 8-for-16 from the floor, chipped in two assists and made five of her six free throws to win her first WNBA title.

Emma Meesseman scored a team-high 22 points off the bench for Washington, hitting nine of her 13 shots and pitching in three rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals to earn Finals MVP honors. Kristi Toliver followed up with 18 points, four assists and four rebounds, while Natasha Cloud added 18 points and six rebounds of her own.

The Connecticut Sun were led by a beastly game from Jonquel Jones, who finished with 25 points (on 10-of-16 shooting) and nine rebounds in the losing effort. Alyssa Thomas provided a valiant performance on the road as well, notching 21 points, 12 rebounds and six dimes, but it wasn’t enough to pull off the road upset in the end.

The championship caps off a nearly perfect season for Delle Donne, who won MVP honors and joined the 50-40-90 club after averaging 19.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 blocks in 29.1 minutes per game on .515/.430/.974 shooting splits.

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The Game 5 victory also brought Mike Thibault, the winningest coach in WNBA history, the one thing his resume had been missing: a championship. While it was a brutal ending for Connecticut, the 2019 NBA Finals brought Delle Donne, Thibault and the Mystics their first ever championship. With how great this series was, and how great Game 5 was, postseason endings don’t get much better than that.

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