For the second consecutive game, the Washington Mystics used a strong first quarter to set the tone and run away from their opponent. The Washington Mystics ended their five-game home stand with a 84-67 win over the San Antonio Stars. Their defense fueled their offense in this one and “making the extra pass” was a way of life for the young Mystics. It was a balanced scoring effort, led by Emma Meesseman and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt with 14 points a piece and Ivory Latta poured in 12 off the bench.
Washington held one of the league’s better young shooters at bay, San Antonio’s Kayla McBride had just seven points on 3-of-10 shooting. She wasn’t the only player to struggle with the Washington defense as no Stars starter hit double-figures. San Antonio got strong performances from Kayla Alexander and Haley Peters off the bench. Former Mystic Monique Currie was the only San Antonio starter to have some success, the other four shot 30% or lower from the field.
The young Stars learned a valuable lesson, that the way you start games is important. A lesson that Washington received just a few days prior courtesy of Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury.
The Mystics came into this home stand as a young team that seemed to still be finding themselves, they leave here knowing who they are as a team and what it takes for them to win on any given night. Their confidence level in themselves and each other has grown during these five games at home, the challenge is to go back out on the road and be an even better version of themselves than they were at the start of the home stand. Washington’s only wins had come on the road, the Mystics are on their way to becoming the type of team that Taurasi thinks they can be, the next few games will let us know if Diana was right or if they still need some more time.
Strong Start. For the second straight game, the Mystics got it going early. Letting the Stars know at the opening tip that his would be one sided. The home team used a 13-2 run to start the game, with Emma Meesseman leading the way with seven of those points. The Stars never recovered after leading the game 2-0.
Ball movement. The Mystics had 24 assists on the afternoon, moving the ball very well. They seemed to always make the extra pass, even when the shot clock was winding down. Five different Washington players had at least three assists and 10 of the 11 Mystics that got playing time had at least one assist. They weren’t sloppy while sharing the ball either, turning it over just seven times.
Defense. Washington’s stingy defense was at it again, keeping the Stars under 30% shooting for nearly three quarters. San Antonio got things going a bit in the fourth, but finished the game shooting just 39% from the floor. They were in the passing lane as well, getting six steals and deflecting countless other passes. Washington started the game on a 13-2 run after the Starts scored the first basket of the game. It’s now been 10 consecutive quarters of strong defense since the second half of the Phoenix game.
Balanced scoring. It was another one of those games in which it felt like every Mystic got in on the scoring action. Of the 11 players that got minutes, only one didn’t score and to be fair, she didn’t take a shot. Tayler Hill has been a big part of every Washington win this season, yesterday she finished with just five points as her teammates were rolling. Three of the five starters scored in double-figures and 10 players scored at least four points.
Consistency. While the Stars weren’t on the same level as the Mercury and Lynx, it was still a chance for Washington to take a step back. Instead they attacked San Antonio at the start of the game and didn’t let up, much like their game against the Lynx. That level of consistency is what separates good teams from the bad, regardless of opponent they go out and attack. Washington isn’t quite there yet, but they are certainly on their way.