On Thursday afternoon, the Washington Mystics won the biggest game of the WNBA season – Game 5 of the Finals. In a hard-fought series and game, Washington was able to overcome the Connecticut Sun, 89-78. The Mystics trailed 70-67 with seven minutes to go in the WNBA season, but then they rattled off a 22-8 run to finish on top.
Natasha Cloud is not the first or second best player on the team. That is Elena Delle Donne and Emma Meesseman. But her leadership is unquestionable. Delle Donne and Kristi Toliver credited the Philly native with keeping the team on track despite trailing for much of the most important game in their careers. On the court, Cloud started the epic run with a three-pointer (one of just four the best three-point shooting team made all game) followed up a layup.
Delle Donne and Meesseman made a handful of buckets, while Toliver hit some clutch free throws to put things away. What makes Washington such a formidable opponent is not because they have the two-time MVP, but because of the surrounding pieces around her. Delle Donne clearly was not 100% as she played through three herniated disks in her back on top of a fractured nose and knee sprain. The likes of Meesseman, Toliver, and Cloud were there to help. The supporting trio combined for 58 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists to compliment Delle Donne’s 21 points and 9 rebounds.
Off the court, the team is just as special. There are no competing egos or passive-aggressive behavior between teammates. That is rare in professional sports. Every player on the roster 1 through 12 (and 13 if you include now coach Shey Peddy) is more worried about winning for the people sitting next to them instead of themselves. Delle Donne was overjoyed that she was able to help get a ring for defensive anchor LaToya Sanders. That was the sentiment throughout the entire team.
After getting swept in the WNBA Finals last season, the Mystics made good on their motto to ‘Run It Back’, which was actually born thanks to Wizards team security Flave. The team had fun celebrating in D.C. Thursday night and into Friday morning. A parade will be held next spring when the team returns from their international seasons. You can watch Mike Thibault, Emma Meesseman, Elena Delle Donne, Kristi Toliver, and Natasha Cloud’s full post-championship press conference below.