The Washington Mystics did something for the first time this season last night, they won a home game. That’s big in it’s own right and even bigger considering it was just the first of a five game home stand for the Mystics. They’ve gotten five of their six wins on the road this season, so putting together a 40 minute effort was imperative, especially at home.
They jumped all over the Dream early on and kept it up from wire to wire, there was one lead change in this game. Atlanta biggest lead was just two points, while the Mystics biggest lead was 34. Below are a few observations made from the blowout win at home.
Aggressive Emma. She was named to the All-Star team last season and got off to a slow start this season. As of late she’s really gotten it going, showing the talent that has many believing she’s on the cusp of being a star in this league. She was hunting for her shot, getting to her spots and making quick decisions. Meesseman was a big problem for the Dream as none of their bigs could guard her on the low block, in the high post or on the perimeter. Her ability to step out and hit long 2’s and the three ball. She had the most shot attempts on the team, for Washington to accomplish their goals this season that needs to continue.
Turnovers. Anytime you want to know how the Mystics are doing in a game on any given night, check two areas. Rebounding and turnovers. They were plus two on the glass, but more importantly they forced the Dream into 21 turnover while only turning it over themselves 12 times. Their active hands on the defensive end turned into 12 steals and countless other deflections. It was impressive to see the young team keep up their defensive intensity for all 40 minutes regardless who was on the floor.
TRP’s defense. She often flies under the radar, but Washington’s Tierra Ruffin-Pratt is a key piece to their team. She draws the best perimeter opposing player every night and is tasked with slowing them down. The Mystics played great team defense last night, but it was TRP who frustrated both McCoughtry and Hayes. Angel finished with 10 points in 28 minutes on 4 of 10 shooting, Hayes was a bit better with 12 points on 5 of 9 shooting, but two of the Dream’s best scorers struggled mightily and she played a huge role in it.
Bench Production. Washington got outstanding production from their bench, Ivory Latta had 12 points and three assists. Kia Vaughn did most of her work on the glass, pulling down a team high 8 rebounds. Bria Hartley has continued to play well coming off the bench, she’s found a balance in being aggressive from a personal standpoint and moving the ball when needed. She scored 13 points and added three assists. Tiana Hawkins had 12 points and 6 rebounds off the bench. She’s worked hard to stretch her shooting out to the three point line and hit both of her attempts in this game.
Ball Movement. The Mystics had 13 assists as a team at the half. They did a great job of moving the ball, especially their post players. Often setting those high screens, at least one of them would be getting the ball at the top of the three point line and making a read. There a couple of great sequences where a guard would drive and kick it out to the opposite corner for an open triple. Also extra passes off the dribble handoffs and screen and rolls, routinely making that “extra pass” going from a good shot to a great shot.