Officials took a second have a look at Peddy’s three-pointer, nevertheless it clearly left her fingers earlier than the sport clock turned to triple zeros.
“Tough way to end the season,” Mystics Coach/GM Mike Thibault stated. “One of the harder losses I’ve had since I’ve been in Washington simply because I really feel so dangerous for these gamers for a way exhausting we labored.
“I’m happy with what they did. … Fought exhausting to get to this spot and have an opportunity to advance, one thing lots of people didn’t assume we may do. Lots of people thought we have been going to get killed tonight. For three quarters of the sport we have been in management, then swiftly we weren’t.”
The No. Eight seed Mystics, the defending WNBA champions, appeared poised for a first-round upset, executing on offense and protection. They entered the fourth quarter with a 70-59 lead behind sturdy play from Leilani Mitchell (25 factors) and Emma Meesseman (18).
But the Mercury’s high-scoring backcourt of Diana Taurasi and Diggins-Smith was simply getting warmed up. Taurasi completed with 23 factors and 6 assists, whereas Diggins Smith added 24 factors, six rebounds and 5 assists. Peddy and Kia Vaughn added 12 apiece for No. 5 seed Phoenix, which advances to play No. four seed Minnesota (14-8).
The Mystics, enjoying with out 4 gamers anticipated to have key roles earlier than the novel coronavirus pandemic hit, end the bubble marketing campaign 9-14 together with the playoff loss.
“It’s so hard,” Meesseman stated. “We had a great run at the end of the season. … It’s just hard. Sometimes during the season we were thinking, ‘Ok, we’re not going to make the playoffs.’ Then you get to this point where you can actually go to the next round, we were feeling it during the game that we deserved to go to the next round. And then it ends in this way. It’s going to be a game that sticks with us for a long time. This feeling, it’s not what you want.”
The last minute packed a punch, even when the ultimate blow landed within the Mystics’ intestine. Mitchell hit a three-pointer with 57.1 seconds left to tug the Mystics inside 82-81. Meesseman then stepped in entrance of a cross from Diggins-Smith and transformed a quick break layup to present Washington an 83-82 lead with 38.Eight seconds remaining.
The rating stayed there till Kiara Leslie collected an important rebound for Washington with underneath 10 seconds left and located Mitchell, who was fouled by Peddy.
Mitchell hit 1 of two free throws with 5.Eight seconds left, leaving Phoenix sufficient time to attract up one last play, which ultimately ended with Diggins-Smith discovering Peddy within the nook. She pump-faked and let a defender fly by earlier than rising up and flattening the game-winner.
Peddy merely turned and put each arms within the air because the horn sounded. Even her former Mystics teammates came visiting to present congratulations.
The Mystics took a 46-35 lead into halftime with an offense buzzing alongside from the outset. Five gamers scored the primary 5 baskets, and Mitchell’s buzzer-beating three-pointer gave Washington a 25-16 lead after the primary quarter.
The high-scoring Mercury responded with a 12-Three run to start out the second quarter and tie issues at 28-28, however Washington closed on a 16-7 run together with back-to-back triples by Mitchell to push the lead again to double figures.
Washington performed many of the first half with out Myisha Hines-Allen (11 factors, 9 rebounds) after she picked up three fast fouls. The reigning Eastern Conference participant of the month and participant of the week was extraordinarily energetic early with 5 fast rebounds and was enjoying good protection, however the fouls pressured Coach and General Manager Mike Thibault to take a seat her down.
The Mystics’ protection helped pressure the Mercury into taking pictures simply 32 p.c from the sector and 27.Three p.c from behind the arc. This from a staff that completed the common season within the high 5 in scoring and three-pointers made.
Taurasi woke up from her slumber within the third quarter with 13 factors, together with three three-pointers, however each time Phoenix scored, Washington appeared to have a solution.
Then got here the fourth quarter, when the Mercury used a 17-Zero fourth-quarter run to take a 78-73 lead. The Mystics nonetheless had a couple of solutions left, however not for Peddy’s last punch from the nook.