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Keys to the Palace: Sanders and Vaughn lead the way during Labor Day Weekend

Let’s hand out virtual awards after a split over Labor Day Weekend.

Kia Vaughn of the Washington Mystics attempts a layup as Mistie Bass and Brittney Griner defend her. Stewart W. Small

The Washington Mystics lost to the Minnesota Lynx on Friday, 75-69 and defeated the Dallas Wings, 88-83 after two road games. Let’s hand some keys, guest passes, and lockouts during Labor Day Weekend.

Key to the Palace

LaToya Sanders, 10 ppg, 4 rpg, 3 bpg

Sanders scored 10 points a game during the weekend and blocked five shots on Sunday. Her defensive play on Sunday especially could have very well been why Washington beat Dallas.

Kia Vaughn, 11.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg

Vaughn’s best performance was in the Dallas game on Sunday where she scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds off the bench. Vaughn also outperformed Stefanie Dolson this past weekend, so assuming the Styx are going for the playoffs, don’t be surprised to see her start before the season’s done.

Guest Passes

Tayler Hill, 20 ppg

On the surface, scoring 40 points over the course of three days is going to give someone a key. While Hill’s performance on Sunday was key-worthy, her inefficient shooting vs. the Lynx on Friday (5 of 22 shooting) was what held her back from that. Players are going to have inefficient shooting nights, but Hill has had a few too many of these sub 30 percent shooting nights lately.

And for some perspective, she shot 29.7 percent this week while having a sky high usage rate of 35 percent. Yes, her efficiency is down due to her performance vs. Minnesota, but the Mystics can’t afford to see Hill brick shots left and right when she is their number one option on the perimeter.

Emma Meesseman, 8.5 ppg, 5 rpg, 2.5 spg, 3 bpg

Meesseman’s scoring went down over the last couple games thanks to defenses focusing a bit more on her. That said, you have to pick your poison with this Belgian Army Knife. When you don’t let her score, she’ll still find ways to get noticed anyway, where she stole and blocked a good number of shots over the weekend. It’s enough to give her a pass, but this was as close as she’s been to getting locked out.

Kahleah Copper, 4.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg

Copper didn’t contribute much during Friday’s game vs. the Lynx but had a much better game against Dallas on Sunday.

Leilani Mitchell, 8 ppg, 2.5 rpg

Mitchell scored a season high 13 points during Friday’s game. Though she only scored three points on Sudnay, Mitchell did dish three assists. It’s early to see if she can combine a strong scoring with decent distribution on the same night, but we’re getting a bit short on time.

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, 7 ppg, 4 rpg, 2.5 apg

Ruffin-Pratt had a Jekyll and Hyde type weekend where she didn’t do much against the Lynx and was limited due to foul trouble. But she did score 14 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, and dished 4 assists in the win against the Wings. She has scored 10 or more points in five of the last six games, which is a good thing considering that the Styx need more options than Meesseman and Hill to score consistently.

Natasha Cloud, 3.5 ppg, 4.5 ppg, 3 rpg

Cloud played well in the Lynx game where she scored but wasn’t as consistent for Dallas on Sunday.

Stefanie Dolson, 5.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg

Dolson’s stats were down because she didn’t play many minutes — in part because LaToya Sanders is getting up to speed. But her shooting efficiency was good and she grabbed seen rebounds in 25 total mintues.

Too small of a sample size

Ally Malott played one minute in the Lynx game.

Get better soon!

Ivory Latta did not play last weekend due to a knee issue.