Please select your default edition
Your default site has been set for 7 days

WNBA Finals: Washington Mystics host Connecticut Sun in decisive Game 5

Watch Game 5 of the WNBA Finals live on Sky Sports Arena in the early hours of Friday morning (1am)

Friday 11 October 2019 05:33, UK

Kristi Toliver and Jasmine Thomas battle for possession during Game 4 of the WNBA Finals
Image: Kristi Toliver and Jasmine Thomas battle for possession during Game 4 of the WNBA Finals

The WNBA will crown a first-time champion in the early hours of Friday morning when the Connecticut Sun and Washington Mystics play the decisive Game 5 of the Finals.

WNBA Finals scores and schedule

It's a series that has had its share of drama. There is an injured superstar playing in pain, a head coach facing the program he led for a decade and team of visitors fuelled by what they consider the disrespect of being called 'role players'.

"We're having the time of our life right now," Connecticut coach Curt Miller said after a thrilling 90-86 win on Tuesday night to send the series back to Washington. "Nothing better. You dream as a little kid being in a deciding final game - a Game 7, a Game 5 of a series to win a world championship. If you grew up a basketball fan, these are the moments that you dreamed of."

Jonquel Jones pressurises Elena Delle Donne in Game 4 2:25
Relive all the action from the Connecticut Sun's Game 4 win over the Washington Mystics in the WNBA Finals

For Miller's Sun, Tuesday almost became a nightmare. Connecticut jumped out to a 32-17 lead after one quarter and led by 16 points at the half. But Washington turned things around with a 28-12 third quarter and led in the fourth quarter, before failing to score over the final two minutes.

"It's been hard in this series," Washington coach Mike Thibault said. "Whoever digs themselves a hole, every team has come back in this series, both teams have come back. But it's hard when you're looking at the deficit we were looking at. I think it was 18 at one point, and the fact that we were ahead says a lot of good things, but then our execution once we got the lead was not great."

Follow Sky Sports NBA on Twitter

Follow Sky Sports NBA on Twitter

See the best NBA and WNBA plays and stay up to date with the latest news

The team that has led after one quarter has won all four games. Sun guard Courtney Williams said both teams will be aware of that on Thursday and she expects things to quickly get physical.

"We've gotta throw that first punch", she said. "We've got to go get us a championship and we've got to do it on their home floor. So, whatever we've got to do, we're going to do it."

More on this story

Elena Delle Donne guards Courtney Williams in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals 2:25
Relive all the action from the Washington Mystics' road win over the Connecticut Sun in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals

The Sun have been motivated in the playoffs by what they consider the disrespect of being called 'role players'.

Connecticut had five players score at least 15 points in Game 4. That is typical of the Sun's balanced approach that had fans wearing T-shirts which read 'Role Players Did That', a reference to a national TV analysis, which the Sun took as a sign of disrespect.

Join our NBA group on Facebook

Join our NBA group on Facebook

Sign up and join the NBA and WNBA conversation in our Facebook group

Washington do have a superstar, but have relied on other players in the Finals, because Elena Delle Donne has been playing with a herniated disk in her back.

The 6ft 5in forward, who averaged 21.4 points and 7.6 rebounds in the Mystics' first five playoff games, left her team's Game 2 loss early in the first quarter without scoring a point. She put up 13 points in a Game 3 win and 11 in Tuesday's loss, sacrificing her post-up game staying mostly on the perimeter to space out the Sun defense.

Jonquel Jones rises to the rim for a dunk in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals 2:42
Relive all the action from Game 2 of the WNBA Finals between the Connecticut Sun and the Washington Mystics

It felt a little better today, so hopefully Thursday it will be even better, she said.

Washington are playing in their second consecutive Finals after being swept by Seattle a year ago.

Get NBA and WNBA news on your phone

Get NBA and WNBA news on your phone

Want the latest NBA and WNBA news, features and highlights on your phone? Find out more

Connecticut hasn't been to the championship series since going to back-to-back Finals in 2004 and 2005 under Mike Thibault, who is now the Mystics coach.

The league's all-time wins leader has downplayed the significance of facing his former team as most of the people who were there during his tenure in Connecticut are long gone.

Elena Delle Donne in action in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals 2:40
Relive all the action from Game 1 of the WNBA Finals between the Connecticut Sun and the Washington Mystics

The teams have each won a game on the other's court during this series. It will be the third time a Finals has gone to a fifth game since the league switched formats in 2016 to seed the teams 1-8 without regard to conference.

I think this has been quite the series, and people better be tuning in because this is some great basketball and some really good teams, Delle Donne said. From that sense, it's great for this league.

Watch Game 5 of the WNBA Finals live on Sky Sports Arena in the early hours of Friday morning (1am)

Want to watch the NBA and WNBA but don't have Sky Sports? Get the Sky Sports Action and Arena pack, click here.