The Washington Mystics went to New York to play the Liberty, they’re now back home gearing up for their regular season finale against the Atlanta Dream. Last night was the first time that the Liberty had played at home on September 11, which is a big deal for any New York team. Emotions are high for most everyone in the country, especially those that lost loved ones on that tragic day. There were players on both teams who have ties to New York and some that were directly affected by the events of that day. As for the basketball that was played, the top seeded Liberty were hosting the Mystics who are battling for the right to the third seed in the playoffs. Washington had the edge in the season series going into the game and they maintained that edge by running away from the Liberty to the tune of 82-55.
Even though the Mystics have had success against the Liberty all season, there was a different look to this team. They had a huge win earlier this week over the Indiana Fever to secure the final playoff berth this season. For the second time in as many games, it looked as if Washington realized just how good they can be. They were nearly flawless in their execution on both ends of the floor as they jumped out to a 21-15 lead heading into the second quarter.
New York could never really get into a rhythm, Washington applied strong ball pressure and did a good job moving their feet on that end of the floor. They also finished off possessions with rebounds versus New York getting second chances. The Liberty lost the battle on the glass, 39-28 and that may have hurt them most, it allowed Washington to get out and run. From one team’s defense to the other, New York was never really able to disrupt or bother the Mystics offense. The ball was flying around the horn and it found the hand of several three point shooters, at one point in the first half, the Mystics shot a staggering 70% from beyond the arc. Six different Mystics hit a triple on the night, with five players recording at least nine points.
The Liberty didn’t just roll over, the Mystics just never let off the gas. Washington blew open the game in the third quarter, getting off to a great start thanks to their stingy defense. They outscored New York 20-7 in the quarter, helping them seize control. Which is worth noting as they’ve had issues with that all season, as the play-by-play announcers stated during the broadcast, it’s not as if the Liberty had anything to play for. Still, in case they do have to play Washington in the first round, wouldn’t it behoove them to come out and try and take away any of the confidence Washington already has from leading the season series? Obviously the games will be different during playoff time, but Washington’s bigs aren’t going to get any smaller or less killed.
If I’m the Liberty, I’m hoping the Fever lose just so Washington has to play Chicago first. Sports and especially playoff sports are all about matchups, the Mystics match up very very well with Liberty. Again, this is not to say that the Liberty will be pushovers if they do in fact play Washington, but just making it clear that it’s a good matchup for Washington and a not so good matchup for New York.
The Atlanta Dream are out of the playoffs, but they have a chance to impact the matchups in the first round heavily. They played the Fever last night, they lost, but they will play the Mystics in D.C. tomorrow.
Washington will find out where they stand in terms of playoff seeding on Sunday after their game against the Dream. It’s always good to play well heading into the postseason, we’ll find out if Washington can continue their high level of play or if Angel McCoughtry, Tiffany Hayes and company will play spoiler.