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Analysis: Toliver, Meesseman lead Mystics to 103-85 blowout of Sky

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The Washington Mystics won their second game of the season in a 103-85 rout of the Chicago Sky. Last night’s win puts the Mystics at 2-1 on the season.

Led by Kristi Toliver’s 19 points, the Washington Mystics won their second game of the season and second straight at their new arena, 103-85.
Photo by Steve Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Washington Mystics (2-1) won their second game of the season in style Wednesday night by blowing out the Chicago Sky (1-2), 103-85.

Both teams entered the game with one win under their belts. Unfortunately for Chicago, this was a one-sided game and Washington dominated from start to finish. All throughout the first quarter, both teams appeared to be evenly-matched as they pushed the ball and looked to strike quickly. At the end of the first quarter, the Mystics led the Sky 27-25.

However, in the second quarter, the Mystics ramped up the defense, which sparked their offense in many ways. In this game, Washington’s entire roster contributed and every player who saw time scored.

Washington hit from all cylinders and pushed the tempo extremely well. Entering halftime, the Mystics forced nine turnovers by the Sky and only committed two of their own, leading to a 57-42 advantage.

Although Kristi Toliver led the team in scoring, Emma Meesseman’s passing ability opened everyone else’s game up:

For Washington, it was a total team effort on both sides of the ball. On the offensive side of the floor, Meesseman and Toliver helped run plays, push the ball and make the extra pass when needed.

Toliver finished the game with 19 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds while shooting 3-of-6 from three. As always, Toliver’s shooting efficiency and ability to get her teammates involved helps her play in rhythm.

Meesseman is a special type of player because of her ability to handle the ball, make the right offensive read and run the floor. She finished the night with 12 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists off the bench.

On the defensive end of the floor, Toliver (four steals), Tianna Hawkins (two steals), Natasha Cloud (two steals) and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (two steals) smothered the Sky all night and forced turnovers. Washington clogged the passing lanes, switched on defense and forced the Sky into taking tough shots.

For Chicago, there weren’t that many positives. But Diamond DeShields put on a show as she wrapped up the game with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists while shooting 9-of-15 (60 percent) from the floor. Jantel Lavender (15 points), Cheyenne Parker (14 points), Gabby Williams (12 points) and Stefanie Dolson (11 points) all contributed double-digits in scoring, but the teams’ 17 turnovers were too much to overcome against a stingy Mystics defense.

In addition to the turnovers, Washington held Allie Quigley scoreless.

The Mystics’ defense, fast-break offense and second-chance points were key to their win. For the Sky, the loss came down to their turnovers, poor transition defense and inability to get into their half-court offense.

Next up for the Sky

The Chicago Sky will suit up again at home on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET against the defending-champion Seattle Storm. Watch the game on NBATV or The U Too.

Next up for the Mystics

Washington will head to the Westchester County Center on Friday to play the New York Liberty at 7:30 p.m. ET. Watch the game on WNBA League Pass, FOX Sports Go or Monumental Sports.