The Key to WNBA Championships is Behind the Arc

Atlanta vs Washington

Last week, Mystics blogger Albert Lee (@aleeinthedmv) noted how an improvement in three-point shooting has helped lead to the Washington Mystics’ recent success. The WNBA, as a whole, is becoming a league where the three-point shot is key to winning championships. In the past five seasons, the WNBA champions have not finished outside the top four three-point shooting teams during the regular season, finishing fourth, second (twice), tied for first, and first over that span. A closer look at these teams reveals that they all had a star that was a high volume three-point shooter: Maya Moore, Katie Douglas, Diana Taurasi, and Lauren Jackson. Each of the players averaged approximately five three pointers or more per game during their team’s respective championship season.


The Mystics hit their stride this summer and since July 2nd are shooting 38.0% (46-121) from beyond the arc in their wins. When the team struggles from three, it shows in the result as the Mystics have shot 33.3% (31-93) in their six losses in the same time period. Lee also mentions how Ivory Latta’s veteran leadership and improved shooting have helped change the Mystics’ luck. Latta leads the league in both three-point attempts (191) and three-pointers made (72), following in the footsteps of Moore and Taurasi. As the Mystics and other WNBA teams enter the home stretch, many games will come down to who can shoot better from long range.

Editor’s Note: the post was updated to include games through the night of Sunday the 10th which had not gone final at the time of writing.

Statistics courtesy of
Images courtesy of,

Nick Barton
Georgetown University Class of 2017

Follow Nick on Twitter: @TriniNick_James
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