Washington just couldn’t get the job done Wednesday morning as the Phoenix Mercury downed the Mystics, 91-68. Mercury held Washington to just 24 second half points, 10 alone in the fourth quarter. Elena Delle Donne’s game status went from questionable to out, so the Mystics had to get creative in the starting line-up and with those off the bench.
Mercury found a way to have an advantage early on by limiting Kristi Toliver either by double-team or brick wall defense by Briann January. Toliver only put up six shots, making three ending the game with seven points. Another stat shocker for Toliver was she shot two three-pointers, knocking down only one of them.
Three-point percentage was low for a team that’s known to drop shots from beyond the arc. Mystics were 5-of-23 from three-point, which was only 21.7 percent. YIKES!
Defensively the Mystics could not contain Brittney Griner (25), DeWanna Bonner (22), and January (18) who combined for 65 points. Of Bonner’s 22 points, 12 came from three-pointers. She just was not letting up.
Offensively, Tianna Hawkins had 24 points, a new career-high. Her previous career-high of 21 points occurred earlier in the season against the Dallas Wings. Hawkins also added seven rebounds and one assist in place of Delle Donne in the starting line-up.
Another example of her big day was her ability to grab rebounds and get second chance points. Take a look here.
Other than Hawkins, Ariel Atkins was the only other player in double-figures with 14 points, but she went cold in the second half.
Keep in mind this was the first meeting of the two teams as well as Washington not having both Delle Donne and Emma Meesseman. Delle Donne has a broken nose sustained in the Sparks game on Sunday afternoon. Meesseman returns tonight from overseas play with Belgium. Both players most likely will be present for the next home game on Saturday night.
The Mystics face the Las Vegas Aces at 7 p.m. Their previous meeting had to be postponed due to an earthquake. The game was cut off at halftime where Washington led 51-36.