The Washington Mystics made the trip to Dallas with one thing in mind: settling the score. In the second matchup between the Wings and the Mystics this season, the Mystics took over with quick plays and high efficiency on the glass to win, 87 to 79.
Dallas is coming off of a three-game losing slide, with their last matchup at Minnesota ending in an 80-63 defeat shooting 36 percent, and they shot 35 percent in their matchup against the Mystics tonight.
The Wings made only four field goals out of 18 attempts in the third quarter, not comparing well to the Mystics' eight makes in 12 attempts. Along with efficient offense, consistent back-to-back defensive stops helped the Mystics keep their lead throughout the matchup.
"I think for the most part, except for a little stretch in the second half, we played good team defense," Washington Mystics Head Coach Mike Thibault said. "They are a tough team to defend. I thought we did a great job in the first half of keeping them off the line."
In light of the loss, the first sighting of Glory Johnson since 2014, ignited the home crowd. Johnson subbed in halfway through the first quarter in her 2016 debut, to a proud and warm welcome from the audience.
In less than a minute of being in the game, Johnson put up her first points off of a fast break layup opportunity.
Johnson's energy was a spark plug for the Wings with her athletic ability to get tough rebounds and finish contested shots in the paint throughout the whole game. She finished with five points at the end of that first quarter, and 15 points for the entire game.
"It feels great to be back. Just being with my teammates and having the opportunity to play on the home court and feel all the energy from the fans is great," Johnson said. "It's a whole new feel for everything and I'm excited to be back."
Tough calls hurt the Wings, as head coach Fred Williams was T'ed out of the game in the third quarter, after defending a foul call on Aerial Powers. Johnson also received a technical foul, hers in the fourth, combined with a flagrant-1 foul in the first quarter.
There were a total of four technical fouls given in the entire game, three of them belonging to the Wings.
"When you're playing as hard as you can play and you're getting called for technical fouls, it's very frustrating. My teammates talked to me and calmed me down and told me to focus on the next play," Johnson said.
Post play was a large factor for both teams, as battles between the Mystics' Stefanie Dolson and Emma Meesseman and Dallas' Courtney Paris and Ruth Hamblin, proved to be full of powerful moves and hard-fought defensive stops.
Mystics' Meesseman, ended up leading all scorers with 23 points, going 10-of-13 from the field. Meesseman has been a strong contender for the Mystics in the start of this season, as the 6'4 forward scored 10 or more points in the last three matchups.
She also scored her 1,000th career point against Atlanta on Sunday, June 5th.
Another contender that has scored in double figures in the last three games is Dallas' Aerial Powers. The rookie scored a career-high in Dallas' game against Minnesota with 20 points, continuing her climb to gain minutes and respect in the league in her first year.
In the matchup against the Mystics, she continued her powerful plight ending with 17 points, scoring 10 of those in the third quarter alone. Powers has led the Wings team in scoring for the second game in a row.
With several significant contributors on both teams, the game upheld a very quick tempo with both teams running fast plays, coupled with plenty of fast break opportunities. Throughout most of the matchup, teams were trading baskets for baskets, as motivations for revenge fueled the Mystics and the return of a familiar face fueled the Wings.
In their last matchup, the Wings took home an 87-77 victory over the Mystics, with Odyssey Sims that led the attack with 22. Sims wasn't as active tonight, only scoring five points in the loss.
"We knew what we had to do to win this game," Meesseman said. "It was to be aggressive, play our game, win the rebound battle and keep them off the free throw line. It's good we did it tonight, especially here because it's an important win for us."
Dallas and Washington will play a third and final time in the regular season on Sunday, September 4th, battling once again at the College Park Center.