The Mystics continue to play well on the road, winning back-to-back road games to move within two games of .500. Last night in Texas, Washington topped the Dallas Wings 87-79. Prior to that, they went to Atlanta and topped the Angel McCoughtry led Dream 86-79, handing the East leading Dream just their second loss of the year.
Washington has gotten off to a slow start, but seem to be trending in the right direction. Turnovers and rebounding are the two barometers for them, if you want to know how they’re doing on any given night against any opponent, focus on those two areas.
Last night, Washington was able to win the rebounding battle 41-36. More importantly, one of their two young bigs got going. When Washington is at their best, they are getting stops and getting the ball inside. When the post players are going, they draw double-teams which means their sharp shooters are given more room and receive better looks.
Emma Meesseman got it going last night, recording a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds. With her rolling, the Mystics were able to build a sizable lead, but turnovers would help the Wings close the gap a bit late. Tayler Hill has arguably been Washington’s most consistent offensive player, whether jumper is falling or not she’s able to produce for her team. Shooting just 3-of-8 from the floor, Hill attacked the Wings off the bounce and got to the line 11 times.
The Washington bench stepped up as well, producing 27 points and 12 rebounds. Bria Hartley led the way with 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting, Kia Vaughn pulled down 7 rebounds.
Now the challenge for the Mystics is to replicate their road success at home in the Verizon Center. They are 4-2 on the road, they have yet to win a home game this season.
Washington has quite the challenge in their next home game, Saturday night at home. They’ll be hosting the reigning WNBA Champions, the Minnesota Lynx. They, along with the Sparks are off to a great start this season as both teams are 8-0. The Mystics saw the Sparks up close at home earlier this season, suffering a blowout loss.
One thing is for sure, they have to cut those turnovers down if they wish to be the first team to soil Minnesota’s perfect record. They have to win or at least draw even on the glass.
Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, and Sylvia Fowles have gotten help from their supporting cast. Much like the Sparks, they already give teams enough to worry about, but when their “others” get going it tips the scales even further in their favor. One of those players who have really stepped up is Renee Montgomery, she’s averaging 8.3 points a contest. It may not seem like a lot, but she’s been counted on for her defensive ability. Montgomery has looked more comfortable on the offensive end this season, taking advantage of the space her teammates create. She’s leading the team with 2.4 steals a game.
It’s more of an experience gap versus talent gap as Washington isn’t a team that is deprived of talented players. It will take 40 minutes of focus to dethrone the champs, so we’ll see if anything was learned from the loss to the Sparks. It also doesn’t hurt Washington to have Ivory Latta back on the court. She’s not back to being 100% herself, but her presence on the court helps space the floor and it provides a sense of calm for the Mystics, something that was missing before her return.