The Washington Mystics came home after a horrific Western Conference road trip. In five games on the road, Washington failed to win a single one. The home team also came into this game with a few injuries as a trio of guards got hurt during their blowout loss to the Seattle Storm. Needing a win badly, they fell to the Liberty 88-81. Washington now falls to 9-14 on the year and have now lost six games in a row.
The Mystics got out to a great start, fueled by their defense and the energy from the fans. It didn’t last long as the New York Liberty used a 21-4 run to retake the lead after going down 13 points in the first quarter. New York found life courtesy of it’s reserves, the first being Rebecca Allen. She took advantage of the Mystics trapping the post and got to the corner, knocking down shots to spark a run. The Liberty took a 10 point lead into halftime, Allen and Shavonte Zellous led the way with 13 and 12 points respectively.
The home team struggled mightily offensively, shooting just 32% from the floor. They stayed in the contest by getting to the free throw line and knocking down the three-ball. Washington used those two areas and some improved defense in the the third quarter to make a run. The Mystics tied the game at 54, but New York would respond with a run of their own to close the third quarter.
Washington put themselves in a great position down four with 1:22 left in the game, they couldn’t get organized offensively. There were a couple opportunities where shots could have been taken, but were passed up. Their sense of urgency in those moments was definitely lacking. Meanwhile, the Liberty did the opposite. Brittany Boyd was the culprit, with the Liberty up four she drove the lane and put pressure on the defense. Washington struggled to hedge properly or switch for much of the game. As Boyd drove, the Mystics defenders involved didn’t make a decision with any conviction. The Liberty point guard took advantage and dropped a pass off to Kiah Stokes for the easy lay in They completed those plays and would leave Washington D.C. with their 18th win of the year.
The Mystics have another tall task on Friday with another tall, long team in Los Angeles coming to town. Washington is seeking consistency, several players mentioned after the game that they need to maintain their effort and focus for the entire 40 minutes.
Defense: Mystics were attentive and disciplined to start the game on that end of the floor. Then the Liberty got going, they did much of their damage in transition. Washington’s guards had to dig down to help the bigs and it left open shooters, namely Rebecca Allen. As the game went on, their ball pressure regressed and the Liberty were able to get what they wanted.
Rebounding: The Mystics were completely manhandled on the glass for much of the game. They did mange to close the gap late in their attempt to rally, by the end of the game the tally on the glass was 36-32 in New York’s favor. Washington has to prepare for another battle on the glass as the Sparks come to town on Friday.
The 3-Ball. It’s a large part in how the Mystics stayed in the contest, they struggled to shoot inside the arc outside of the foul line. They were tremendous from beyond knocking down 11 of their 22 attempts from deep. Emma Meesseman (20 points) hit three triples, showing that she’s very comfortable stepping behind that line. The Liberty didn’t shoot bad either, they hit 7 of 12 of their attempts from beyond the arc. There triples were extremely timely, sparking runs or ending runs. Allen and Boyd accounted for 6 of the 7 made, Tina Charles hit the other.
Reserves: New York got 69 points from their bench. They stepped up in a game which the starters didn’t get of to their usual start. Just an example of a well balanced team that understands how to win, 65 points from your reserves is outstanding for any team. Brittany Boyd was great with 17 points and 7 assists, Amanda Zahui B barely missed a double-double with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Stepping up on a night in which Carolyn Swords struggled and Kiah Stokes was in foul trouble. Former Indiana Fever guard Shavonte Zellous provided timely buckets as well, chipping in with 14 points. Rebecca Allen got things started for the reserves in the first quarter, finishing with 19 points and knocking down 4 of her 6 three point attempts.