The Washington Mystics defeated the Indiana Fever twice in 24 hours, the first win by a landslide and the second involved a few late game theatrics. On Monday, the Mystics routed the Fever 80-63. Monique Currie had 18 points in 18 minutes without missing a shot, including two point baskets, three point baskets and foul shots. Washington’s veterans didn’t play more than 20 minutes, as heavy minutes were given to the younger players, rookies and players trying to make the team. The Mystics held Indiana to 33% shooting, which played a huge role in the final score.
The teams met again earlier today at the Verizon Center, resulting in a rather peculiar finish. The Fever had several double digit leads throughout the game, they were up by 12 with 4:55 seconds left. Cue the crazy finish, after A’dia Mathies takes a charge, Jelena Milovanovic goes off! Jelena hits back to back three pointers, the Mystics step up their defensive pressure and intensity which results in an unforced turnover by Lynetta Kizer. Milovanovic is still feeling it, she pump fakes from beyond the arc, steps in and drills a midrange jump shot while getting fouled. She calmly stepped to the line and knocked down the free throw to complete the and-one opportunity. Kayla Thorton corrals an errant shot and puts it back in to cut the lead to one. The woman of the hour (Milovanovic), gets fouled and knocks down both free throws to cut the lead to one. The Mystics get another stop, Mathies attacks her defender off the bounce and gets fouled. She goes to the line and misses not one, but both shots at the charity stripe. The Fever are up one and have possession of the basketball; the shot clock runs down and the take a shot, then get the rebound. Only, it gets stripped and Kayla Thorton comes out of the scrum with the ball. With the game clock running out she dribbles to half-court and uncorks a long three, the buzzer sounds indicating the end of the game….but there was a whistle. The officials say that Thorton was fouled before attempting the desperation three, Kayla goes to the line with 0.8 seconds on the clock. She knocks down the first, which ties the game at 80. Thornton than knocks down the game winner, the Fever called timeout and had a chance but didn’t get the shot off before the buzzer sounded.
The Mystics started the game with Currie, Hawkins, Dolson, Lawson and Latta. That unit really moved the ball well, shots just didn’t fall. The veterans weren’t really hunting for their shots, they seemed intent on instilling confidence in their younger teammates. Currie played 18 minutes and attempted just three shots, Latta who led the team in scoring last season, didn’t look for her shot until the second half (2 for 5).Dolson was great in establishing position, setting screens and passing out of the post. Second year player Tianna Hawkins had a good game (18 points, 4 rebounds), but she played just 18 minutes. This was definitely a game in which the younger players gained valuable experience.
One of the main reasons that the Mystics struggled in this game was rebounding, they routinely failed to box out. The Fever out rebounded Washington by the tune of 41-24, at one point their offensive rebounding percentage was 50%. The Mystics played good defense in stretches but routinely failed to finish the possession with the rebound. Their other issue was former Maryland Terrapin Marissa Coleman, she scored 21 points in 22 minutes. Had this not been a preseason contest, she would have played more minutes, most likely resulting in more points. Indiana had four players with six plus rebounds, a very impressive display on the glass.
Take Aways from this Game
- The Mystics have a bevy of bigs on their roster, Kia Vaughn and Emma Meesseeman aren’t active(Kia just returned from overseas, Emma has not)
- Dolson & Hawkins have plenty of promise as a duo, both are very good as the roll man in Pick-and-Roll situations
- Kara Lawson’s presence creates more space for Ivory Latta
- If nothing, the preseason games indicate that Washington should get a nightly scoring punch from their bench with Bria Hartley, Milovanovic, and Thornton
- The team needs more game time together, still not all on the same page both offensively and defensively (should be very good when that happens)
- Roster has a very good mix of vets, second year and rookies. Quality Depth
- Per monumentalnetwork.com: Kia Vaughn has joined the Washington Mystics and will take part in her first practice of the season tomorrow. The team also waived Kody Burke and Artemis Spanou.
Stats courtesy of the WNBA