The Washington Mystics had lost two in a row out on the road, they came home to take on the New York Liberty. The Mystics are in the midst of a tough battle for playoff seeding; with only one team over .500, the remaining three playoff berths are up for grabs. Washington needed to get back on the winning side of things and did so by dismantling the Liberty. The Mystics turned in their best effort on both ends of the floor last night, Washington finally played up to it’s immense potential. The result, a 79-46 drubbing of the Liberty. The win also pushed Washington from third to second place in the playoff race.
Washington jumped on New York at the opening tip, the level of intensity of which they played seemed to shock the Liberty. The Mystics offense was very crisp in the first quarter, every member of the starting lineup scored at least once in the period. The defensive activity was at an all time high as Washington took both Tina Charles and Cappie Pondexter out of the game for New York. With their two top players struggling, the rest of the team couldn’t pick up the slack. The Mystics ended the first quarter on a run, leading New York 21-10.
The second quarter was a bit closer as the Liberty slowed Washington down on the offensive end, but not enough to truly get back into the game. It wasn’t just the starting unit that left imprints on the game for the Mystics, every player on the roster made a contribution on the evening. In this quarter, it was the duo of Stefanie Dolson and Tianna Hawkins. Upon entering the game, they immediately clogged up the lane on the defensive end and owned the glass on both ends of the floor. Hawkins and Dolson played very well off of each other, Tianna even stepped out and drained a three pointer. Dolson protected the rim and did a wonderful job hedging on the defensive end of the floor, she also got out to contest shooters beyond the arch at times. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt came off the bench to provide great energy and hustle, there was a noticeable difference once they left the floor.
Ivory Latta started the third quarter by landing not one, but two haymakers squarely on New York’s chin. Latta drilled a pair of triples, Bria Hartley continued to attack the basket. She raised havoc all night long by attacking the Liberty in transition every chance that she got. Washington continued to roll, the quarter ended with a buzzer beater by Latta. The jumper gave the Mystics a 29 point lead heading into the fourth and final quarter.
Washington got a chance to show off their deep roster as Jelana Milovanovic and Tayler Hill got a chance to finish the game out, Kalena Greene also had an opportunity to get some minutes. Prior to the Mystics emptying their bench, there was one possession that embodied the Washington effort on the evening. Hawkins attempted a three pointer from the top of the key, Dolson isn’t in position to grab the rebound with both hands, but she is able to tip it back out to Hawkins. Tianna takes her time, then swings the ball to Latta for the triple. The Mystics continued to play defense until the clock read zero, Dolson continued to protect the rim by swatting away another shot. The Mystics got a few good offensive possessions out of Milovanovic and Dolson, Washington definitely earned the win. They held the Liberty to a franchise low 46 points in the win while also moving up to second place in the Eastern Conference.
- Offensive and defensive execution were exceptional
- Mystics showed a glimpse of what they could be, played a full 40 minutes
- Youngsters looked great for Washington
- Tayler Hill played in her first game of the season, she gave birth just seven weeks ago
- Milovanovic moved fairly well after being sidelined with a leg injury
- Dolson looked great in the post on both ends of the floor
- Hawkins “flashed” her potential several times in the game
- Balanced scoring – four of the five starters scored in double digits