WASHINGTON — The Washington Mystics captured the 2019 W.N.B.A. title on Thursday night, defeating the Connecticut Sun, 89-78, in Game 5 of the finals.
The win capped an extraordinary season for Elena Delle Donne, 30, the 6-foot-5 star who overcame another injury — this time, a herniated disk — to lead her team to the championship.
Delle Donne, who this season won her second Most Valuable Player Award, arrived in Washington in 2017 with a single goal in mind: winning a title. After determining that playing with the Mystics would be her best chance to do so, she had requested a trade from the Chicago Sky.
Mike Thibault, the Mystics’ coach and general manager, nearly engineered a deal to acquire Delle Donne the night the Sky drafted her second over all out of the University of Delaware in 2013. Now, three seasons into their collaboration, both Thibault and Delle Donne are champions for the first time.
Thibault, 69, is a longtime W.N.B.A. head coach, with more regular-season victories than any other coach in league history. A former assistant with the Showtime-era Lakers and Michael Jordan’s Bulls, he helped the Mystics win the first title in franchise history.
Thibault has also coached the Connecticut Sun, and he collected 206 of his 336 regular-season victories while leading the team to a pair of W.N.B.A. finals (but never a championship).
It is the first title for everyone on the Mystics’ roster except Kristi Toliver, who won one with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2016. She and Delle Donne teamed up in Washington in 2017, proclaiming that a league championship was their goal.
Now Toliver, who also won an N.C.A.A. tournament title as a freshman at Maryland in 2006, is on top once again.