The Washington Mystics defeated the New York Liberty 80-64 on Friday night to start their 2023 WNBA season.
If you looked solely at preseason rankings, you would think that the Mystics would lose this game. After all, the Liberty have three top-tier superstars in Breanna Stewart, Courtney Vandersloot and Sabrina Ionescu while the Mystics have one in franchise player Elena Delle Donne. And the WNBA power rankings often had the Liberty ahead of the Mystics.
The thing is that game have to played on the floor.
Washington held New York to just 34.3 percent shooting while shooting 45.7 percent themselves. They forced the Liberty to commit 20 turnovers and turned an early Liberty lead in the first quarter into a blowout in their favor the rest of the way. It gives head coach Eric Thibault the start that he needed for his career.
Natasha Cloud and Ariel Atkins led Washington with 14 points each in this game with Cloud also dishing 6 assists and 6 rebounds. Elena Delle Donne added 13 more.
As for the Liberty, Ionescu led with 18 points but she shot 7-of-20 from the field.
Overall, this was a great game for the Mystics and let’s hope this kind of play continues all season long. Washington’s next game is on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET against the Connecticut Sun. See you then!