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Mystics finally get best of Liberty, 78-69

Sep 7, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; The WNBA logo on a ball during the fourth quarter of game one of the WNBA finals between the Seattle Storm and the Washington Mystics at KeyArena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Elena Delle Donne poured in 25 points and the host Washington Mystics had enough to hold off the New York Liberty for a 78-69 victory in Thursday’s matinee in Washington, D.C.

Ariel Atkins (16 points) and reserve Myisha Hines-Allen, who had 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds, had key second-half stretches to help carry the Mystics (17-11) to their second win in a row.

Natasha Howard’s 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Sabrina Ionescu’s 15 points paced the Liberty (9-17), who lost their fifth game in a row. Reserve Marine Johannes chipped in 12 points, but the rest of the bench players contributed a total of six points.

The Mystics avenged two earlier losses to New York, but it was a tussle at times. Making 15 of 18 free throws helped the winning cause.

Delle Donne, who reached the 20-point mark for the seventh time this season, shot 8-for-14 from the field, including 3-for-6 on 3-pointers, and 6-for-6 on free throws.

The Mystics were just 5-for-21 on 3-pointers, while New York went 8-for-26 from long range. The Liberty made only two 3s in the second half.

Atkins and Ionescu traded three-point plays in an 18-second span to leave Washington up 67-63 before another Atkins basket and Delle Donne’s jumper.

Hines-Allen scored seven points during Washington’s 9-4 run across the last three minutes of the third quarter that created a 59-48 advantage. Hines-Allen continued the personal surge with the first points of the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer.

The Liberty responded with a 10-0 run before Delle Donne drained a 3-pointer for a 64-58 lead with 7:01 remaining. The Liberty could get no closer than four the rest of the way.

Delle Donne had 16 first-half points as the Mystics held a 40-37 lead at the break. The Liberty stayed within range by making six 3-pointers from six different players.

For the game, the Liberty shot 41.9 percent from the field and pulled in only four offensive rebounds.

–Field Level Media