No one on the Mystics team will tell you that their 61-58 victory over the Minnesota Lynx was pretty.
In fact, forward Crystal Langhorne admits, "It was a really ugly game, and just the fact that we won is great for our confidence. I mean, it was terrible. Turnovers, missed shots, and we still came out with the win." The win, which tied the franchise record for most in the season at 18, came at the hands of veteran guard Katie Smith, who hit a three to pull ahead of the Lynx with under a minute to play.
The game could not have been more different from Washington’s previous victory at the Verizon Center. In their win over the Connecticut Sun, the Mystics lead the entire game and executed clean, crisp basketball. In the first half alone against Minnesota, the Mystics committed 16 turnovers. They finished with 23.
The Lynx, for their part, had 7 steals and 5 blocks just in the first half. They were clearly playing pesky defense that the Mystics couldn’t quite figure out. Guard Lindsey Harding saw their first half woes as a result of mental miscalculation. She said, "I think in the first half we were all in such a rush because we were on such a high from our last game, we just thought it was just gonna translate over, so the second half we stopped and said just make the easy pass and move from there."
After what Coach Plank described as a tense halftime, Washington came out with a different attitude. She said, "I thought we set the tone the beginning of the second half. We came out and hit some big shots, I thought our 2/3 zone was very effective against them. We held that team to 18 points in the second half, 6 in the fourth quarter, which I thought was huge. And I really was impressed with our rebounding."
The Mystics out-rebounded the Lynx 46-34, and some key defensive rebounds at the end of the game aided in their unlikely victory. Leading the way was Langhorne, who tallied another double/double with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Marissa Coleman added 9 boards of her own, and Monique Currie, who had a relatively quiet offensive night, still managed to pull in 7 rebounds.
View the complete box score here.
After such a scattered performance, one might wonder how the Mystics hope to prepare for their game Sunday against the league’s best team, the Seattle Storm. The Storm, who suffered their most lopsided loss of the season to none other than the Connecticut Sun on Friday, rested their starters after the first period. Superstar Lauren Jackson sat out and likely wont play much in Washington on Sunday. It would appear that the Storm are looking to coast into the playoffs without regard for their record, and this could benefit the Mystics who sit in a tight race in the East.
Still, the Mystics have to bring their ‘A’ game. Monique Currie isn’t convinced that the Storm will give this one away so easily; "Seattle is obviously the best team in the league. They’re already in the playoffs. But I doubt that they wanna go into the playoffs on a losing streak so they’re gonna come in here and play and we just have to take care of our home court and find a way to win like we did tonight." And how might they do that? Well for one, Coach Plank said, "We need to bring our depth. I mean they will play a lot of people…they’ve only lost four games for a reason."
The Mystics host Seattle Sunday, August 15th at the Verizon Center at 4:00pm EST.
Read some previews here:
Storm-Mystics Preview - CBSSports.com Basketball