In Photos: Washington Mystics Win Team's First-Ever WNBA Title The title concludes a competitive, high-scoring series that saw both teams jockeying for a shot at their first championship title.
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NPR logo In Photos: Washington Mystics Win Team's First-Ever WNBA Title

In Photos: Washington Mystics Win Team's First-Ever WNBA Title

The Washington Mystics held off the Connecticut Sun in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals, bringing home the franchise's first-ever championship title. Tyrone Turner/WAMU hide caption

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The Washington Mystics brought home their first-ever WNBA championship title on Thursday after outlasting a fierce Game 5 challenge against the Connecticut Sun.

Playing as the top-seeded team and on their home turf, the Mystics were able to use the slight edge to their advantage in Thursday night's nail-biter, beating the Sun 89-78 to secure Game 5's winner-take-all victory.

The title concludes a competitive, high-scoring series that saw both teams jockeying for a shot at their first championship title — the Mystics averaged 90.5 points in the first four games, with the Sun close behind at 89. Tuesday's Game 4 marked the closest game of the series, with the Sun narrowly managing to eke out a 90-86 victory.

Washington managed to dominate, despite a back injury limiting regular-season MVP Elena Delle Donne's momentum on the court; she played only 3.5 minutes in Game 2, when a herniated disk flared up as she was reaching for a rebound.

Delle Donne came back with force in Game 5, notching an impressive 21 points and nine rebounds, second-only on the team to center Emma Meesseman, who scored 22 points, with three rebounds and three assists. Starting point guard Kristi Toliver — a Maryland graduate and the only player in the series with a WNBA title — helped deliver Thursday's victory, notching 18 points and four rebounds (and her second championship ring).

The win is a significant one for Washington — it comes a year after being swept by the Seattle Storm in the 2018 finals and caps off one of the best seasons in the WNBA, with the Mystics winning the most games by at least 25 points in the league's 23-year history.

It's also the first title for Coach-General Manager Mike Thibault who, despite his 17 years in the league and his distinction as its winningest coach, had been unable to clinch the championship in his three previous appearances. Thursday's matchup marked the Sun's first return to the finals since Thibault led the team there in back-to-back runs in 2004 and 2005.

The Mystics will host a victory celebration at the Entertainment and Sports Arena on Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Regular-season MVP Elena Delle Donne notched 21 points and nine rebounds in Thursday night's WNBA Finals against the Connecticut Sun. Tyrone Turner/WAMU hide caption

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Natasha Cloud goes after a rebound in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals. Tyrone Turner/WAMU hide caption

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Mystics fans raise their hands during a free throw. Tyrone Turner/WAMU hide caption

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Starting point guard Kristi Toliver reacts after falling as she yells for a foul — no foul was called. Tyrone Turner/WAMU hide caption

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The Mystics brought home the franchise's first-ever championship after an 89-78 victory. From left: Elena Delle Donne, Natasha Cloud, Emma Meesseman (MVP), Latoya Sanders. Tyrone Turner/WAMU hide caption

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Mystics fans celebrate after clinching the decisive Game 5 victory. Tyrone Turner/WAMU hide caption

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Sheila Johnson, the president and managing partner of the Mystics, holds the championship trophy as the team celebrates post-game. Tyrone Turner/WAMU hide caption

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Latoya Sanders hugs fans, friends and family as she holds the championship trophy after the game. Tyrone Turner/WAMU hide caption

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Connecticut Sun players walk off the court after their loss in Thursday night's championship game. Tyrone Turner/WAMU hide caption

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Mystics fans Jessica McNutt and Scott Suchyta linger in the Entertainment and Sports Arena after the players left Thursday night's game. Tyrone Turner/WAMU hide caption

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