The Mystics got back on a winning track in a 86-67 victory over the Liberty on Thursday night. Washington really put the pressure on the Liberty in the second half defensively, holding them to just 26 points in the final two quarters.
The game wasn’t always in hand, though. The Mystics took a one-point lead into the half and were lacking major contributions from Elena Delle Donne and Kristi Toliver who combined for just seven points in the first half. Toliver turned it on after not scoring in the first half and dropped 11 second-half points, including a deep three that pushed the Mystics’ lead to 67-59.
The Mystics showed us why they’re such a good team tonight. They did it in the halfcourt, they did it on the fastbreak, and they did it on defense. It wasn’t a glamour win, but they got the job done and the result never really seemed to be in doubt.
- The Mystics need their stars to succeed, but they don’t have to carry the team anymore. Washington got major contributions from Natasha Cloud, who scored 10 points including two 3-pointers, and LaToya Sanders who dropped 14 and 5 while playing some solid defense. Their starting lineup has talent all over the place.
- Speaking of Cloud, she’s growing into her own as one of the best players on the team and one of the better point guards in the league. She notched her first career double-double with 10 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds and controlled the pace of the game from the start. This team can go far with her at the controls.
- Elena Delle Donne is still one of the best scorers in the world. She had seven points in the first quarter but closed the game out by scoring 14 more in the final 14 minutes of the game. She’s incredible and, it goes without saying, the Mystics just aren’t this good without her.
- The defense inside still leaves a lot of room for improvement. Tina Charles had her way inside with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Granted, of course, it’s Charles — but some of her looks were just too easy on the inside.
- Ariel Atkins is a rookie, but if you’re watching her for the first time you’d never know. She’s not a high usage player and won’t wow you, but she’s always in the right spaces and is already a really good defender who fights right in to what the Mystics are doing.
- The halftime entertainment was a dude balancing ladders on his chin. You probably don’t believe me, but good Lord it was incredible entertainment.