The Washington Mystics defeated the Chicago Sky 86-71 on Sunday afternoon in a game that they dominated from start to finish. Emma Meesseman led Washington with 20 points while Stefanie Dolson added 19 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists.
Besides their young post duo's strong performance, another major key stat in this game was that the Mystics made 10 of 19 threes where Ivory Latta made five of them on seven attempts while Tayler Hill made another four threes on just five attempts from deep. The Sky, on the other hand, failed to make any of their eight attempts.
For Chicago, Elena Delle Donne scored 26 points on 9 of 17 shooting, but the Mystics' three-point shooting and their 37-24 rebounding advantage proved to be too much. Delle Donne entered Sunday's game averaging a league-high 29 points per game. Even though Washington wasn't able to slow her down much on the defensive end, their own offense was more than enough to overcome her performance.
Sunday gives the Mystics a 6-3 record, where they remain in second place in the WNBA's Eastern Conference. The win also gives head coach Mike Thibault -- who is the WNBA's leader in regular season wins by a head coach with 245 total -- his 39th victory with Washington. With Sunday's win, Thibault now has more career wins in Washington than Julie Plank, who had 38 combined wins from 2009-2010.
We have mentioned that two of the main things that define Thibault's time in D.C. are continuity and stability. I'm not a fan of every single move he has done in his two and a half years. However, I can appreciate the job Thibault has done given the hand he was dealt when he first came in for the 2013 season. Overall, there are a good number of younger players who could very well form the core of the team for years to come. And most of the younger player on the team look like they may form a solid core for a contending team in the future.
There's a still a lot of work for the Mystics to do before they truly become an elite WNBA team and franchise. But, as mentioned before, one thing that the best teams in any league have is front office stability, and that is something that they have now.
Historically, the Mystics haven't. Most of their past head coaches were fired for poor performance. And in some other cases, including Plank's, it seemed that the Mystics zigged when others would have zagged. After all, it's hard to see a coach let go after a franchise-best regular season when it seemed that everyone was on the same page.
Fortunately and hopefully, Thibault will be a break from the Mystics' not-so-great past. Here's hoping that he can lead the Mystics to a brighter future, and this season as well.