The Washington Mystics came into the game looking to finish the season strong and try to lock up the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Of the four teams that have clinched a playoff berth, only the Atlanta Dream know their seed(1st). With the remaining teams all within a half game of each other (Washington, Indiana, Chicago), the last two days of the regular season would be pivotal. Washington clinched a playoff berth by beating the Connecticut Sun the night before, the would come home for Fan Appreciation Night. Enter the New York Liberty, they’d already been ruled out of the playoffs, this game was a chance to play spoiler and a chance for revenge.
The last time New York Liberty chose revenge, the last time they were in D.C the Mystics blew them out. The Liberty were determined to not let that happen twice, from opening tip it was apparent that New York was playing with an edge. Be it pride or revenge, they got after Washington very early on and never looked back. New York got it started on the defensive side of the ball, after leading Washington by just two at the start of the second quarter, the Liberty clamped down on defense and carved out a huge lead. New York was very physical on that side of the floor, the officials seemed to allow that kind of play. The Washington crowd weren’t fans of the calls being made and neither was Head Coach Mike Thibault, earning a Technical after protesting what was a very bad call on Emma Meesseman, she contested a jump shot and appeared to make no contact with the shooter. Just one of many calls of which seemed to incense the Mystics and the home crowd. The officiating had nothing to do with how hard the Liberty were playing and how well they were shooting the ball. The Liberty opened the game shooting 60% from the floor and gradually regressed each quarter, but not much. The only reason the Mystics were able to stick around was the three point ball.
The Liberty led 45-29 at the half, Washington refused to quit. The were able to get the lead down to 12 several times during the second half, even down to nine once. New York seemed to answer every run or rally by Washington, Plenette Pierson(20 pts) and Swin Cash (12 pts) really set the tone for the Liberty. Tina Charles and Cappie Pondexter took a back seat on the offensive end as others were shining. Tina and Cappie did score several timely baskets to end Washington runs, the Liberty offense was pretty efficient as they shot 50.9% for the game.
The Mystics continued to rally, but late in the fourth quarter Coach Thibault took out Currie, Latta, Hartley and Vaughn. Throwing up the “white flag” to a degree, of those left on the floor to finish the game, Tianna Hawkins definitely impressed. The Mystics would fall 73-61 to the Liberty, Washington will wait and see who they play as Indiana and Chicago both have games to play today. The Sky lost to the Fever last night, pushing Indy to second place and dropping the Sky to fourth, which leaves Washington in third at the moment. It is possible for the Mystics to fall into the second seed if Indiana and Chicago both lose tonight.
- Latta has been very aggressive down the stretch of the regular season, need that to continue in the post season
- Washington won on the boards again, 39-24 trend must also continue in postseason
- Mystics must make better decisions on Pick-and-Roll situations (specifically Ivory)
- Ball must enter the post more often, outside of Kia the ball didn’t get inside much
- Foul line, Mystics had 19 trips and hit just 11
- Offense was out of sync, too many jump shots
- On Ball defense wasn’t great either, guards must defend with their feet, not hands
- Washington is capable of making a run, just about putting together a string of good games