The Washington Mystics have a thing for beating the Minnesota Lynx. Since Mike Thibault took over as head coach for the 2013 season, they’ve gone 4-3 in regular season games heading into today’s game. After losing 83-76 on June 11 to Minnesota, we all figured that Washington was ready for revenge.
And they got revenge by blowing out the Lynx 87-63 on Sunday to get back to .500 for the season. That said, there were things we didn’t expect.
The Lynx were sucker punched in the first quarter thanks to the Mystics’ hot offense
The first quarter of the game set the tone that Washington wasn’t going to let Minnesota’s star powered lineup have their way. Even with the Mystics having success against this team, they were playing with urgency and left no prisoners hostage.
Emma Meesseman would score 16 of her 20 points in the first quarter on 7 of 7 shooting while the Lynx scored 13 in that time frame.
Meesseman ended up shooting 9 of 12 from the field while playing just 22 minutes. Not bad.
And speaking about the first quarter specifically, the Mystics also made six three pointers and got 11 assists to just one turnover. When the offense is clicking like that, it’s not a surprise to see that they would get 33 points in those first 10 minutes.
The defense would never let Minnesota back in the rest of the way
After the first quarter, the offense made just eight more assists, and they were actually out-rebounded 25-24 in that time. However, the depth of the Mystics’ rotation showed while the Lynx didn’t have any answer when their starters were on the bench -- for most of the game.
Whenever the Lynx made some buckets, you would get a three from Tianna Hawkins. Or you’ll get a drive-in layup from Bria Hartley. Shoot, even Jamie Weisner got a three pointer in the middle of the fourth quarter just to say, “No, you’re not going to do ANYTHING TO US TODAY!”
Starters besides Meesseman also showed up with above-average performances. Tayler Hill dropped 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting. She also did this on her hometown team. (YES SHE IS FROM MINNEAPOLIS!)
Speaking about the defense,
Minnesota’s best players were stopped
They say that you can’t stop superstars — you only can slow them down. But on Sunday, the Mystics stopped Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, and Lindsay Whalen.
Moore shot 2 of 9 and scored five points. Whalen and Augustus were scoreless.
That’s right. Zilch, Nada, Nul. NOTHING.
The Lynx starters minus Sylvia Fowles were all playing poorly against the Mystics. So instead of them being on the court, they were sitting on the bench instead.
After the win was official, Monumental Sports Network’s Dan Nolan “rubbed some dirt” on Augustus, who was held scoreless for the first time in her career:
Wow. That’s a fact, but a zinger nevertheless.
TL;dr - excellent game, but it’s time to stay consistent
It always feels great to see the Mystics win a big game against the defending WNBA champs in this fashion. It also shows the progress that the young core is making after several years of developing together.
However, it’s important to keep this momentum going so Washington can get homecourt advantage for the initial rounds of the Playoff Tournament. After the Lynx and the Sparks (who they lost to on Friday), there isn’t much differentiation between the Mystics and most other teams.
The Mystics’ next game is on Wednesday at home against the San Antonio Stars at 11:30 a.m. ET.
But in the meantime, people in Ieper are happy,
and so’s Mike Thibault. He can’t help but take a dig himself! ;)