Uncasville, CT -- It took overtime, but the Washington Mystics won their first game of the 2016 season Thursday night over the Connecticut Sun, 84-76. Tayler Hill led all scorers with 24 points, but it was Tierra Ruffin-Pratt who hit what turned out to be the dagger in overtime.
Ruffin-Pratt made a corner three in front of the Sun bench with a little over a minute left in the game. That shot gave the Mystics a four-point lead, and nearly sealed the win.
Washington made 45.5 percent of their field goals, and pulled out a win despite turning the ball over three more times than Connecticut.
"I thought we played good defense in the second half," Mystics coach Mike Thibault said. "I thought we were up and aggressive into them, and I thought we did a better rebounding job. We got some strips and forced some turnovers, and we didn't do that early. That was big for us."
The Mystics jumped out to a 12-2 lead less than three minutes into the game. The Sun responded out of coach Curt Miller's timeout, scoring nine of the next 11 points.
Connecticut lead through the first ten minutes, and both teams would continue to push the tempo in the second quarter. Wearing the Mystics down was a focal point for the Sun coming into this game.
"We talked about (Washington) being in their third game in four days and on a back-to-back," Sun coach Curt Miller said. "So we felt if we put ourselves into position late, we would wear them down. Regardless of how poorly we shot the ball, we were in position to win with a minute to go, and we didn't make the plays."
The Sun made more free throws in the first half (16) than Washington attempted (10). Despite the large disparity, the Mystics only trailed by five heading into halftime.
Washington got to the free throw line 13 times in the third quarter, converting ten. That slowed the game down, allowing the Mystics to make up the halftime deficit. Jasmine Thomas banked in a half-court shot at the buzzer, sending the game into the fourth tied at 50.
Connecticut lead by as many as four in the final quarter, but were unable to hold off the Mystics. Stefanie Dolson split two free throws that would have given her team the lead with 1.8 seconds left in regulation. The Sun failed to take advantage, and did not get a shot up with a chance to win, sending the game to overtime tied at 67.
"I just think we didn't make the right reads," Sun guard Alex Bentley said. "We went for the harder, tougher shots when we could've made one more pass or attacked the rim. We settled a lot."
Washington scored the first four points of the overtime, and would never trail in the extra period. Connecticut had the ball only trailing by one with over a minute left, and were unable to convert on the possession.