What if I told you that the Washington Mystics looked like they were en route to a blowout win, only to see them choke in the end? That’s what happened Saturday afternoon as Washington (7-10) lost to the New York Liberty (9-9), 82-79 on the road.
I’ll start off with the positives, which were all in the first half. It was all Mystics as Washington shot 55 percent from the field, and did so dishing 16 assists while committing just 2 turnovers. The Liberty were held to just 33 percent shooting, giving Washington a 51-33 result.
Yes, Tina Charles led the team in scoring, but I was just as impressed with the performances of Shatori Walker-Kimbrough who made each of her three shots after signing a seven-day contract, and Megan Gustafson who made a bucket soon after checking in.
Megan Gustafson checks in and immediately goes to work in the post for a hook. She hasn't been shy at all since originally signing as a hardship. #wnba— Kareem Copeland (@kareemcopeland) July 3, 2021
I also have to give a shout-out to Sydney Wiese, whom I haven’t written enough about. She scored 7 points in the half as well on 3-of-4 shooting. Wiese is best known as a three point shooter but she has a spin move in her arsenal too:
Of course, there’s a second half too. And there wasn’t much to write home about.
As you might expect, the Liberty made their inevitable comeback in the third quarter, shooting 57.1 percent from the field and holding the Mystics to 26.3 percent. The lead dropped to single digits and even a single possession in the fourth quarter. And they finally got the lead with 3:48 left after Sabrina Ionescu made a three.
While Washington reclaimed the lead with as late as 1:58 left after Tina Charles made a layup to make the score 79-76. But Reshanda Gray scored four straight points to give New York the lead back for good.
Another stat that hit Washington was missed free throws. They missed five consecutive ones in the last 3:01 of the game. Three of those missed shots were by Charles, two by Shavonte Zellous. Perhaps some combination of those free throw shots could have swayed the outcome the other way.
For the Mystics, Charles led with 31 points and 16 rebounds, but would like to have made all eight of her free throw attempts instead of five. And for the Liberty, Betnijah Laney scored 19 points while Jazmine Jones added 17 and Ionescu had 15 more.
The Mystics have one more game on the docket for the pre-Olympic Break part of the schedule when they travel to Chicago next Saturday, July 10 to face off against the Chicago Sky. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. ET.