The stage is finally set for the 2019 WNBA Finals.
With 12 teams throughout the league starting their journeys to try and find themselves in the best-of-five Finals series at the end of the season, we are officially down to two teams who have accomplished that while they try and win the WNBA title this year.
On Tuesday night, we learned who will square off in the championship series starting on Sunday, and those two squads are the top-seeded Washington Mystics and the second-seeded Connecticut Sun.
Over the past week, four teams battled it out in the best-of-five semifinal round for a chance to advance to the final series of the postseason.
On Sunday night in Los Angeles, Connecticut took down the third-seeded Los Angeles Sparks in Game 3 of the series to complete a 3-0 sweep and move on to the Finals. On Tuesday night, Washington topped the fourth-seeded Las Vegas Aces to take the series 3-1 and advance to meet the Sun in the championship series.
With the semifinal round behind us and the long-awaited WNBA Finals now here, we are about to find out whether the Mystics or Sun will be able to call themselves league champions in early October.
Let’s take a look back at the two semifinal round series in this edition of the WNBA Playoff Roundup:
NO. 2 CONNECTICUT SUN 3, NO. 3 LOS ANGELES SPARKS 0
GAME 1: SUN 84, SPARKS 75
GAME 2: SUN 94, SPARKS 68
GAME 3: SUN 78, SPARKS 56
The second-seeded Connecticut Sun began their postseason play in the semifinal round by putting together an impressive series against the third-seeded Los Angeles Sparks.
While playing with an underdog mentality throughout the best-of-five series against the Sparks, the Sun wasted no time wrapping up the series with a clean three-game sweep of Los Angeles to advance to the WNBA Finals.
In the three games of the series, Connecticut won each contest — two of which were at home with one on the road — by an average of 19 points.
While playing some impressive basketball at the perfect time, the young Sun squad will appear in the Finals for the first time since 2005 and will now turn around to face a tough Mystics squad in the championship series, which begins at 2 p.m. CT on Sunday.
Throughout the regular season this summer, Connecticut held a 2-1 series advantage over Washington, winning the two contests by an average of 11.5 points while falling 102-59 in the lone loss on June 29 in Connecticut.
If the Finals series was to go a full five games, three of those five games would come on the road for the Sun (Games 1, 2 and 5), with two being played at home (Games 3 and 4). Connecticut compiled a record of 8-9 on the road and 15-2 at home in 2019.
Connecticut is playing awfully well right now and that was put on full display in the semifinals against Los Angeles. Starting Sunday, the Sun will carry their underdog mentality into the Finals against the Mystics.
NO. 1 WASHINGTON MYSTICS 3, NO. 4 LAS VEGAS ACES 1
GAME 1: MYSTICS 97, ACES 95
GAME 2: MYSTICS 103, ACES 91
GAME 3: ACES 92, MYSTICS 75
GAME 4: MYSTICS 94, ACES 90
The top-seeded Washington Mystics kicked off their play in the playoffs during the semifinals by cruising by the fourth-seeded Las Vegas Aces 3-1 n four games, wrapping the series up on Tuesday night in Las Vegas.
With a display of depth and their ability to hurt an opponent from multiple different positions, the Mystics showed everyone how they were able to obtain the best record in the WNBA this season to claim the top spot in postseason play.
After going into Las Vegas and coming away with a series-clinching win on Tuesday, Washington is making its return to the WNBA Finals for the second season in a row, having lost to the Seattle Storm in three games during the 2017 championship series.
In the four games of the semifinal round against the Aces — two of which came and home and two on the road — the Mystics’ offensive firepower was in full force, averaging 96.5 points per game in the four contests while winning three games by an average of 4.7 points.
The experienced Washington squad will make its return to the Finals, which begins at 2 p.m. CT on Sunday on ESPN, for a second consecutive year while holding a key advantage over a young Connecticut team in terms of playoff experience and familiarity of playing in the big best-of-five series. That alone could result in the Mystics jumping out to a lead early on in the series.
While finishing the regular season with a league-best record of 26-8 in 2019, Washington has fallen to Connecticut in two of the three matchups between the two teams entering the Finals. The Mystics, however, blew out the Sun 102-59 in the most recent meeting on June 29 on the road in Connecticut.
If the championship series was to go a full five games, three of the five contests would be on Washington’s home floor in the nation’s capital (Games 1, 2 and 5), while Games 3 and 4 would be on the road. In the regular season, the Mystics were 14-3 at home and a WNBA-best 12-5 on the road.
Washington’s depth and offensive explosiveness makes it a very dangerous team heading into the Finals against a Connecticut team with a chip on its shoulder. We will see if the Mystics are still carrying some motivation from falling just short of a championship a season ago when the series kicks off on Sunday.
UPDATED PLAYOFF PICTURE
Now with just two teams remaining in the postseason and the WNBA Finals set to begin on Sunday, here’s a look at the playoff bracket leading up to this point:
Below is the full schedule breakdown of the WNBA Finals, with the first game of the best-of-five series being played in the nation’s capital on Sunday afternoon on ESPN.
2019 WNBA Finals (best-of-five series):
Game 1 — Sunday: No. 2 Connecticut at No. 1 Washington, 2 p.m. CT, ESPN
Game 2— Tuesday, Oct. 1: No. 2 Connecticut at No. 1 Washington, 7 p.m. CT, ESPN
Game 3 — Sunday, Oct. 6: No. 1 Washington at No. 2 Connecticut, 2:30 p.m. CT, ABC
Game 4 (if necessary) — Tuesday, Oct. 8: No. 1 Washington at No. 2 Connecticut, 7 p.m. CT, ESPN2
Game 5 (if necessary)— Thursday, Oct. 10: No. 2 Connecticut at No. 1 Washington, 7 p.m. CT, ESPN2