The Chicago Sky defeated the Washington Mystics, 72-69 on the road at Verizon Center. This now gives both teams identical 15-17 records.
We discussed on Monday that Stefanie Dolson was going to have a big opportunity in light of Kia Vaughn's absence due to a one game suspension. Fowles scored 9 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in the first quarter alone, and she ultimately had 21 points and 16 rebounds.
The first quarter was the killer here, not just for Dolson, but for the entire team. As a whole, the Mystics shot 3-of-17 from the field, which isn't even 18%. They did force the Sky to commit five turnovers in the period, which is good, but they only scored three points from them. End result? A 19-10 Sky lead after the first 10 minutes.
Washington was able to get out of the shooting slump, and they were able to get a quick 37-36 lead after Ivory Latta made a trademark three point shot with 6:52 left in the third. But then Fowles answered right back and the Sky never trailed from that point on, even when the Mystics made it a one possession game. The Sky had an answer every time, whether it was Fowles or Elena Delle Donne, who scored 18 points off the bench, on 7-of-9 shooting.
Statwise for D.C., Dolson had a nice stat sheet, where she had 12 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists. Monique Currie scored 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting.
You can read the rest of the box score here.
If only the second through fourth quarters were played, then yeah, the Mystics would have won this game. But it is what it is, and it's a really bad loss. You can point at Kia Vaughn's suspension as why, but like I've been saying all the time, the Mystics aren't going to win games when stars on the opposing team step up.
We saw Fowles and Delle Donne, the best players answer the bell here. When they play like the way they did today, Chicago should be beating Washington anyway. They're built to win now, and their record is deflated due to injuries.
As for Washington, games like this show exactly why it's better to go for the lottery, in particular when the team is largely dependent on youngsters. Yeah, the draft isn't as "strong," but it's better to pick in the Top 4 than to have another mid first round pick when the bulk of the team is made up of those types of draft picks and below. Those teams will be destined for mediocrity, at best.
The Mystics had a great season in my opinion, but this loss is really disappointing indeed.