The Mystics came into to Sunday’s game looking to become the first four seed to sweep a number one seed in WNBA history. The Tina Charles powered New York Liberty, made sure that didn’t happen as the Liberty won big 86-68 behind a 17 point quarter from Charles.
The game started off awful for the Mystics as Epiphany Prince scored on a four-point play and a three-point play within the game’s first two minutes. The momentum was taken as the Liberty took an 11-5 lead, the Mystics took a timeout with 7:03 in the first quarter. The timeout didn’t do much for the Mystics as they appeared shook, letting the Liberty go on a 12-5 run. The Mystics scored five points in the last two minutes of the opening period to make the score 23-15.
The second quarter also wasn’t ideal for the Mystics as the Liberty began with an 11-0 run. During that run, Washington had a string of bad possessions on both sides of the ball. Tayler Hill sparked the comeback by hitting four triples as the Mystics used a 12-2 run to cut the lead to 10 (37-27). Her three pointers sparked ball movement as other players such as Ivory Latta and Emma Messeman also joined the long ranged shooting party as well. This run capped off a huge comeback and a momentum swing as the Mystics it a near 20 point deficit to just seven.
The third quarter began and Tina Charles took it upon herself to show why she is one of the game’s best. She went hit a couple of shots, got in a zone and that was all she wrote. The former MVP candidate was feeling it, dropping 17 of her 22 points in the third quarter. During that stretch, the Mystics tried to push her further out on the floor but she was so hot, she just kept knocking shots down, including a three pointer. For all of her immense gifts, long range shooting isn’t typically one of them The Mystics had no answer for her and the rest of the Liberty as they took all the momentum that the Washington had and closed the quarter with an 18 point lead.
The fourth quarter was even on both ends of the floor as the teams traded baskets, each team would score 16 points in the quarter. The Mystics never recovered, but they kept fighting because they know how tough Tuesday will be. With a final score of 86-68, this game was a wakeup call for the young Mystics team. Letting them know just how hard a close-out game is, put themselves in a must win situation on Tuesday. Let’s see how they will respond as they battle for their postseason lives.