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Ivory Latta: Big things come in small packages

Washington Mystics’ Ivory Latta may be small, but she proved how big her role is during the playoffs in Friday night’s win over the New York Liberty.

Chris Poss

New York, NY -- New York may be the number one seed, but If you ask Ivory Latta if the Mystics ever saw themselves as the underdog going into game one of the conference semifinals, she will be very clear and say, "No."

On the outside looking in, everything was against them. With New York on an upward spiral, no one could have guessed not only the outcome, but the battle that was witnessed inside of Madison Square Garden on Friday night.

"We came into this game with a positive mindset. We knew we had to stick together," explained Latta. We knew what kind of environment we were coming into. We just made sure we took care of what we needed to do. We played together as a team."

The 5'6" point guard may be small, but she proved how big her role is during the playoffs. Latta scored 15 points to help the Mystics outlast the Liberty in game one. She was 4 for 6 from the 3-point line, including one 3-point bucket that helped send the game into overtime in the final seconds of regulation.

"Coach had confidence in me and said he knew I could knock it down," said Latta. My teammates said we need you to make a three. I saw the defender wasn't there, so I took my time, I focused, and I took the shot."

Still, Latta remains modest, and insists it is a team effort.

"I credit my teammates for it," She explained. The energy they give me and the confidence they have in me, gives me all the energy in the world to go out and give it all I have. They continue to lift me up every game, so I'm going to do whatever it takes to get a win."

Though the Liberty got off to a quick start, their largest lead of the game was 13 points in the first quarter, and the Mystics were able to narrow in by the end of the first half. By the time regulation was over, the score had been tied a total of 11 times, making a double overtime necessary to close the game.

"Whichever team won was going to be excited. Whichever team lost was going to be heartbroken, because it was a great basketball game," Explained Head Coach Thibault. "Somehow tonight we found a way to get things done. We're excited, but the work is only partly done."

It was clear to both teams, and spectators. New York didn't lose this game. They didn't throw it away. They didn't give up. With an Arena packed full of fans, both teams gave it their all and fought until the end. The Mystics came out on top 86-83, pushing the WNBA's best team to the verge of elimination in round 1 of the conference semifinals.

Both teams will reunite for game 2 in Washington on Sunday at 1:00 PM ET.