WASHINGTON (AP) — Elena Delle Donne scored 24 points and hit a crucial jumper late, Emma Meesseman added a career postseason high 27 points and 10 rebounds, and the Washington Mystics held on for a 97-95 victory over the Las Vegas Aces in Game 1 of their WNBA semifinal series.
It was Washington’s first win all year by a single possession.
Meesseman also bested her regular-season high of 25 for the Mystics, who were playing their first postseason game since being swept by the Seattle Storm in last year’s WNBA Finals. Meesseman wasn’t a part of that team, after taking a leave of absence following the 2017 season.
A’ja Wilson scored 23 points for Las Vegas, which twice got the deficit as close as two points in the final moments. Liz Cambage had 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Kayla McBride added 19 points.
Kelsey Plum had 16 points and nine assists.
After Kristi Toliver’s 3 made it 92-79, the Aces scored nine straight points to close the deficit to four, while twice forcing the Mystics into a shot-clock violations.
Wilson’s drive and layup closed it to 95-93 with 1:33 left. Following misses on each end, Delle Donne’s turnaround stretched the lead to four with 32 seconds to play.
Plum answered with a layup. Then Delle Donne missed a jumper with the shot clock expiring as the Aces opted not to foul.
Plum received an outlet pass and raced inside the arc, but her 20-footer wouldn’t fall.