- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 28, 2018

Elena Delle Donne wouldn’t let the Mystics’ win streak die — crushing the New York Liberty at the buzzer with a dazzling three-pointer.

With 0.6 seconds left on the shot clock, Delle Donne found herself wide open on the wing with a warm-up jumper.

“I mean coach drew up a killer play. Toya set a monster screen and they got caught up in and I was open. I knew I had to let it fly very quickly and let it go. Luckily it went in and I hit my first three of the game,” the superstar forward said after the game.

Delle Donne was 0/4 from behind the arc before her winner. She still had a solid all-around performance, finishing with 22 points, five rebounds and two blocks.

The Mystics, who shot just over 38 percent from the field, had a hard time finding the bottom of the net most of the night.

“Four or five times a year you don’t play your best basketball and you figure out a way to win a game,” said coach Mike Thibault.

The free-throw battle was the deciding factor as the Mystics made 21 of their 22 attempts while the Liberty only took 11, making 10.

New York’s Tina Charles flirted with a triple-double posting 18 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. She was aggressive from the start and scored six points early in the first quarter.

Charles’ strong play helped the Liberty jump out to an early 12-7 lead, but Mystics guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough kept the Mystics within striking distance, scoring seven in the early going.

“I thought Shatori did a good job. She kept us going offensively and she wasn’t afraid. That’s the good part of our team is that we have enough depth to do that,” Thibault said.

Walker-Kimbrough finished with 12 points, half of them coming on threes.

Her efforts along with Delle Donne’s consistent play helped the Mystics to a 44-39 lead at halftime and a 57-65 lead going into the fourth.

But the Liberty continued to chip away, cutting the Mystics’ lead to two with 7:42 to play.

After a Monique Currie turnover, Liberty guard Epiphanny Prince hit a corner three to give her team their first lead of the quarter.

Their lead wasn’t secure for long as Mystics guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt nailed a jump shot to go back up 69-68.

This seesaw affair continued right down to the wire and an extra period looked inevitable before Delle Donne’s dagger.


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