Washington Mystics Favored to Win First WNBA Title Over Connecticut Sun

Posted on: September 29, 2019, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: September 27, 2019, 10:50h.

League MVP Elena Delle Donne and the Washington Mystics are favored to win their first championship as they take on the Connecticut Sun in the Women’s National Basketball Assn. (WNBA) finals.

WNBA Finals Mystics Sun
The Washington Mystics are favored over the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA Finals, which begin on Sunday. (Image: Ethan Miller/Getty)

The Mystics are currently a -260 pick to win the best-of-five championship series, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Trio of Stars Leads Washington to WNBA Finals

The 2019 WNBA Finals will provide an opportunity at redemption for Washington, which was swept 3-0 last year by the Seattle Storm. But this time, the Mystics will be at full strength, with a healthy Delle Donne supported by center Emma Meesseman, who sat out the 2018 season to play for Belgium’s national team.

“We didn’t have Emma. We’re a different team when she’s on it,” Delle Donne told reporters. “We got a really good Connecticut team coming in. They are playing really great basketball. We’ll focus on them and figure some things out.”

Washington and Connecticut entered the playoffs as the top two teams in the WNBA. The Mystics led the league with a 26-8 regular season mark, while the Sun were close behind at 23-11.

Those records gave the two teams byes to the semifinals. The Sun were never in trouble in sweeping the Los Angeles Sparks 3-0 in their semifinal series, while the Mystics had a fight on their hands against a rapidly improving Las Vegas Aces team before putting them away in four games.

In terms of star power, there’s no doubt that Washington has the bigger names. Along with Delle Donne and Meesseman, guard Kristi Toliver has also emerged as a critical component for the Mystics, especially as she has recovered from a right knee injury that kept her out for 11 games earlier this year.

Toliver showed how important she is for Washington in Game 4 of their semifinal series against the Aces, scoring 20 points and contributing nine assists, much of which came in the second half after she was allowed to take off a knee brace she had been wearing.

“Tonight, getting back into the starting lineup was my comfort zone,” Toliver told reporters. “The injury has been pretty painful, and the crappy part is the only thing that really helps it get better is doing nothing. So it’s been about having to adjust to even the way I warm up.”

Youth Trumps Experience for Sun

Meanwhile, the Sun are a young team of emerging talents. Connecticut has four players who averaged double figures during the regular season, led by 25-year-old forward Jonquel Jones.

They’ve grown together,” Connecticut head coach Curt Miller told ESPN about his team, which doesn’t have a single player over the age of 30. “And while they’re young on paper in age, we are not young anymore in playing together. And that chemistry, and that family, and that locker room, is just really, really tight.”

That youth makes the Sun a team on the rise. But oddsmakers think that Washington should still get the better of them this year. The Mystics are a 7.5-point favorite over Connecticut in Game 1 of the WNBA finals, which begin Sunday in Washington.