The Washington Mystics began the 2023 WNBA Playoffs with a 90-75 loss to the New York Liberty in Game 1 of the 2023 WNBA Playoffs on Friday evening. With the loss, they are now one game away from their season ending — and not having a home game to show for it.
In the beginning of this game, however, it seemed like the Mystics would have a chance to make things interesting. They led, 29-23 and were winning in the field goal percentage department, 57 to 47 percent.
But from there, the talent disparity of the Liberty came through. The second quarter set the tone for the rest of the game when New York outshot Washington, 40.9 percent to 25 percent and they headed into halftime with a 46-42 lead. New York broke the game open in the third quarter with no one player in particular dominating and ultimately, the Mystics were run out of the building.
There have been some folks making light of a comment that former Mystics — and now Liberty center — Stefanie Dolson made before the game, that Washington wasn’t a “tough matchup.”
Dolson: "Both times they beat us, we didn't have our best game. It didn't have to do with them. I don't think they're a tough matchup--we [can be] our worst enemy... Washington has a lot of length with their guards and EDD is a great talent, but we match up well." (Q: @bheyman99)— Myles (@MylesEhrlich) September 15, 2023
Well, after tonight’s game, Dolson isn’t wrong. The Liberty took care of business — and the Mystics have nothing to show for it.
Yeah, Dolson scored just 3 points, but New York’s starters are overall much more loaded than Washington’s. But it wasn’t like the Mysitcs were at full strength either.
It was great to see that Myisha Hines-Allen got the start and scored 21 points, but her defensive impact isn’t like Shakia Austin’s. Austin missed the game due to a hip injury earlier this season, and she would have probably kept Jonquel Jones (20 points) somewhat in check. Sabrina Ionescu led the Liberty with 29 points.
Brittney Sykes also added 16 points for Washington in her breakout season this year.
But again, to put everything into perspective, the Mystics are underdogs in this series. They aren’t even .500 in the regular season, playing against one of the best teams in New York. They needed nearly everything to go right for them. And to their credit, they did keep Breanna Stewart in check, where she scored just 10 points on 16 shots.
Credit to the Liberty for protecting home. They’re tough, especially at home.— Roni (@RBBallWiz) September 16, 2023
Washington did a good job of defending Stewart. Sabrina made so many backbreaking 3-pointers. It’s so tough to keep all of New York’s main players in check.#BallOnOurTerms #WNBAPlayoffs
But still, that allowed other stars like Jones to pick up the “slack.” Washington didn’t have enough players to do those same kind of things.
Game 2 will be on Tuesday at Barclays Center in New York City. Tip off is at 7 p.m. ET. See you then. Hopefully, the Mystics can live to see one more day so fans in D.C. can get a chance to see them in the postseason for the first time since 2019.