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Mystics at Sun final score: Washington blown out in season opener, 84-69

A lack of three point shooting and a turnover-happy third quarter did Washington in. And Kristi Toliver got hurt too...

WNBA Finals - Game One
Ariel Atkins scored 10 points in the Mystics’ 84-69 loss to the Sun.
Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Mystics began their 2019 season on the wrong note, getting the butts handed to them by the Connecticut Sun 84-69.

Emma Meesseman started in place of Elena Delle Donne where she could only score 14 points in 33 minutes in an otherwise efficient 6-of-13 shooting performance. Kristi Toliver and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 11 points each. For the Sun, Alyssa Thomas scored 23 points while Jonquel Jones added 10 points and 14 rebounds.

Washington gave the game away in the third quarter. They shot just 5-of-18 from the field and committed 5 turnovers which turned into four quick points. They also got in foul trouble committing six fouls vs. Connecticut’s three. The worst part about Connecticut’s 23-12 run was that the Sun weren’t shooting at a particular high rate themselves. They only made 38.1 percent of their shots!

This game was just ... bad.

So, let’s get to the rant.

Where is the Team Belgium version of Emma Meesseman?

In 2017, Emma Meesseman left the Mystics midseason for the first time for EuroBasket Women and looked mentally drained or had one eye on her Belgian national team commitment, even after the team’s excellent performance that year. We’ve seen her blossom into a legitimate superstar last year as she won a EuroLeague Women Final Four MVP and was unstoppable in the World Cup.

We were hoping to see THAT version of Meesseman, especially with Delle Donne out due to a knee injury. Instead, the Belgi-skeptics, a/k/a the WNBA fans who didn’t really look at Meesseman’s growth will be quick to say that they’ve been validated. They’ll say the same tired old lines, that Meesseman is a passive player, or at least one who is reluctant to be a star in the States.

Yes, Meesseman took more shots than others. And yes, she played well according to the box score. But the Mystics are without Delle Donne and we saw other players take nearly as many shots, most notably Myisha Hines-Allen who went 4-of-12 tonight despite playing just 19 minutes. There’s really no reason why Hines-Allen should be shooting that much when Meesseman is on the floor and when she’s having an off-game. All that said, it’s a good thing Meesseman is back or this loss would have been even worse.

Natasha Cloud’s shooting continues to regress toward her career average ...

I was very happy to see Cloud shoot a career-high 43.6 percent from the floor last year. But tonight, she shot 2-of-7. Historically, Cloud shot less than 35 percent in each of her previous three seasons in the WNBA and she is regressing to the mean.

I was hopeful that Cloud would be able to shoot around 40 percent this year since a regression to the mean seemed likely considering her improvement. But it has to go up or the Mystics will have to make some lineup changes really fast. While I liked her 8 assist performance, she must be a shooting threat like she was last season.

The injury bug gets worse

Kristi Toliver hurt her right knee in the first half and had another setback in the third quarter. Hopefully she won’t have to miss future games, but safety and health come first!

Kim Mestdagh didn’t have a bad start

Yes, she played just four minutes. But the Colorado State Rams alumna did make one of her two three pointers and looked more assertive than most “typical rookies” are.

Next Game

The Mystics will host the Atlanta Dream in their next game on Saturday, June 1 at 7 p.m. ET.