Well folks, that’s a wrap. Not on the season (the Mystics still have one regular season game left, against the Connecticut Sun), but on the hopes for a fifth consecutive postseason appearance. For the first time in the Mike Thibault era, the Mystics will miss the playoffs.
The Mystics made a statement on Tuesday night with a commanding victory over the conference-leading New York Liberty in a must win game. But tonight against the Atlanta Dream Olympian and five-time All-WNBA player Angel McCoughtry was too much for the Mystics to handle, pouring on an efficient 31 points to lead all scorers.
Tayler Hill hit a pair of free throws with 13.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give the Mystics a one point lead. But Tiffany Hayes responded with a layup, forcing the Mystics to foul to extend the game. Layshia Clarendon hit both free throws, and Natasha Cloud missed a three point shot on the other end as time expired.
Hill and Emma Meesseman lead the Mystics with 20 points apiece, and Stefanie Dolson added 15 of her own. The Mystics won the turnover battle (7 to 14) but lost on the boards (31 to 39), and they did a terrible job getting to the line (20 free throw attempts, half of which came from Hill).
There will be plenty of time to unpack the season and discuss what it means for the Mystics to miss the playoffs. For now though, I’ll just say that they put up a good fight against a good team. The odds were stacked against them, and they were likely one layup away from staying alive another day. There are plenty of positives to take away from the season: Hill’s breakout year, Meesseman’s continued improvement, and Natasha Cloud’s development as a point guard all come to mind. And with a little luck, the Mystics will be able to find them some help in next year’s draft.