The best team in the Western Conference came into Washington, D.C. searching for their fourth consecutive win. The Minnesota Lynx were denied by the Washington Mystics with a final score of 77-69. The Mystics were led by Ivory Latta’s 20 points, it was an overall team effort that got it done, especially on the defensive end of the floor.
The game started off fast and furious as both teams as they combined for 49 points in the first quarter (25-24 Lynx). The Mystics were shooting 60% from the field while the Lynx were shooting 47%. Reigning MVP Maya Moore scored seven points and seemed ready to control the rest of the game as she was playing with such ease.
In the second quarter, the Mystics started to gain momentum with excellent defense and good team ball. Tayler Hill drained a three-pointer with 5:48 left in the half to take a 32-31 lead, the Mystics first lead since the end of the first quarter. The Lynx never went away as they battled back to regain control with 4:32 in the half. After that, the Mystics went into some what of a zone defensively, as they played lockdown defense. Washington would get the requisite stops while hitting their next five shots which created a 49-40 halftime lead.
When the second half began, the Mystics didn’t slow down as they applied pressure on the Lynx , refusing to allow the visitors to get into a groove offensively. Before you know it, the Mystics had carved out a 10 point lead and closed the third with a 64-54 lead.
The only negative for Washington in the period was Emma Messeman leaving the game after what looked like a severe injury to her finger(s). The first time All-Star was having a pretty solid game with 10 points, she would not return for the remainder of the game.
In the fourth quarter, the Lynx brought the game within five with 2:48 to go but the Mystics kept applying great ball pressure to disrupt their offense. Forcing them to take tough shots and make costly mistakes. One of those mistakes being a steal by Hill on Moore that sent Kara Lawson to the free throw line to ice the game.
Although Latta led with a game high of 20 points, the player of the game is Tierra Ruffin-Pratt who drew the assignment against Moore. She finished the game with 12 points, four fouls and four turnovers. This win should do wonders for the Mystics confidence as they go on their toughest road trip of the season including a rematch with the Lynx and the Chicago Sky. If they play like they played last night, the Mystics have a chance to do damage once the playoffs begin.