If the parade buses on Capitol Hill aren’t tuned up and polished after their last outing in June, they ought to be — just in case.
The Washington Mystics vie for the WNBA title in their first appearance in the finals in the franchise’s 21-season history, after edging past the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA semifinals, 3-2.
The No. 1 Seattle Storm are coming off a close series of their own, defeating the Phoenix Mercury after winning the first two games and then dropping the next two.
The Storm are heavily favored — despite the similarities between how their semifinals played out for the Mystics — led by WNBA veteran Sue Bird, who played just one game after her own teammate broke her nose, as well as fellow former Connecticut star Breanna Stewart. The Storm have the advantage in 3-point shooting as well, hitting 37 percent beyond the arc while the Mystics hit 35.7.
Forward Elena Delle Donne will continue to lead the Mystics, fighting through a bone-bruised knee she suffered in Game 2 of the semifinals and kept her sidelined for Game 3. Delle Donne is the first player since Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie in 2001 with five-straight double-doubles to open the playoffs, per ESPN.
She’s averaging 21.4 points per game in the postseason, followed by rookie Ariel Atkins (15) and Maryland alum Kristi Toliver (13.8). Toliver has experience winning a title, with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2016.
Both Seattle coach Dan Hughes, 63, and Washington coach Mike Thibault, 67, have also yet to win a title despite their combined 32 years in the league.
If the Mystics win, they’d be bringing the first basketball title home since the Washington Bullets did so in 1978. Two other D.C. teams have already celebrated championship victories this year, the Washington Capitals and the Washington Valor.
WNBA Finals schedule
Friday, Sept. 7 — Game 1, Mystics at Seattle, ESPNews (9 p.m.)
Sunday, Sept. 9 — Game 2, Mystics at Seattle, ABC (3:30 p.m.)
Wednesday, Sept. 12 — Game 3, Storm at Washington, ESPN2 (8 p.m.)
Friday, Sept. 14 — Game 4*, Storm at Washington, ESPN2 (8 p.m.)
Sunday, Sept. 16 — Game 5*, Mystics at Seattle, ESPN2 (8 p.m.)