The Washington Mystics were able to keep their win streak going Thursday night thanks to a clutch shot by Elena Delle Donne(22 points). The Mystics didn’t play one of their best games and the New York Liberty had a lot to do with that. They switched everything on defense, the Liberty personnel did a great job of shrinking the floor. Holding Washington to just 38.2 % shooting from the floor and 25.9% from beyond the arc. New York shot 50% from the floor, as well as 24 assists on the night. Which brings the question of how did Washington win the game?
The Mystics did enough of the little things right, they turned the ball over just 10 times. They only got beat on the glass by one and they held the edge on the offensive glass. It was a very physical game, that’s one of the reason neither team could really get in a flow offensively. The Liberty shot well mostly by pushing the pace off of misses and getting good looks before the Washington defense was set. Coach Thibault elected to go with more defensive laden lineups with Ariel Atkins out, that’s one of the reasons the floor was so easy to shrink for New York. The Mystics had several droughts offensively, but their defense kept them in it during those stretches. Washington had a quick surge to close the first half, carving out a five point lead.
New York wasted no time in making up that ground, they did so by going inside to Kia Vaughn and later on Tina Charles got going. Vaughn had a pretty good night against her former team, scoring 16 points and grabbing six rebounds.
Epiphanny Prince scored 21 points, one of her four triples gave New York a 68-67 lead with six minutes left. A few minutes later Prince would strike again, giving her team a 73-72 lead. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt often gets overlooked for her offensive contributions, but her nine points were very timely. She drew a foul after Prince’s triple, but split the pair at the line. With the score tied at 73, Delle Donne went to the line and knocked down two big free throws. Tina Charles scored her biggest basket of the night a couple of possessions later, showing why she’s one of the best bigs in the game. Charles spun into a double and finished through it, she absorbed the contact and calmly made the shot to even things at 77 a piece.