ATLANTA, GA– The Washington Mystics cruised to their third straight win after topping the Atlanta Dream, 77-70 on Sunday afternoon.
After their game against the Connecticut Sun was postponed on Friday due to a leak in the Verizon Center roof, the Mystics looked well rested in the win. With the victory, the 14-9 Mystics completed their sweep of the Dream for the 2017 season.
The Mystics got off to a hot start, thanks in large part to a career-best game from Emma Meesseman. She ended the afternoon with a new career-high 30 points, while grabbing 10 rebounds to get her first double-double of the season.
“My personal strategy is to play basketball and be aggressive,” Meesseman said after the win.
The most impressive part of Meesseman’s performance was the ease with which she got her buckets. At no point throughout the course of the afternoon did it feel like Meesseman was forcing up bad shots to pad her own stats.
In fact, the exact opposite was the case. Meesseman was incredibly efficient, going 14-of-22 from the field, for 63.6 percent shooting. Throughout the game, Meesseman worked to create her own shots both inside the paint and in a series of mid-range jumpers.
“I know I have to be aggressive, especially against this team because they go hard. We know that if you can play inside it makes it easier for us to make open shots. We always found strategies to keep going on offense and get defensive stops.”
It was clear that Meesseman had the hot hand early on, scoring 10 of Washington’s 24 points in the first quarter and pulling down three rebounds. Her offensive performance allowed Washington to open up an eight-point lead.
While she only scored four points in the second quarter, Meesseman had some help from teammate Kristi Toliver, who dropped eight points in the quarter, including two three-pointers. Toliver finished the afternoon with 19 points.
The Mystics had a great first half of offense, but just as important to their 15-point lead at the break was their intense rebounding effort. In the first half alone, Washington outrebounded Atlanta 26-14.
By the end of the game, the Mystics had a monster rebounding advantage, grabbing a season-high 47 compared to Atlanta’s 32. This was due in large part to Krystal Thomas, who pulled down a game-high 15 boards.
In the third quarter, Meesseman stormed back with a vengeance on the offensive end, scoring 12 points, six of which came in the first four minutes, and allowed Washington to hold on to a 12-point lead despite a series of runs from the Dream.
The fourth period would prove to be an offensive challenge for both squads, but Atlanta ultimately outscored Washington 14-9 in the quarter. It would not be enough for a comeback.
Despite the Dream coming back in the second half to outscore the Mystics 41-33, it would not be enough to combat Meesseman’s 16 second-half points. As a result of her performance, the Mystics never relinquished their lead in the half.
Oftentimes, Meesseman is the kind of player who draws not nearly as much fanfare as she deserves given just how much she does for this Washington team. Sunday’s game proved how lethal she can be on offense, and just how easy she can make it look.