Washington Mystics hold on for 64-61 victory over Tulsa Shock
Photos © Mark W. Sutton.
The Washington Mystics earned their first win of the season in a close 64-61 victory over the visiting Tulsa Shock who dropped to 0-3.
Mystics guard Matee Ajavon led all scorers with 19 points off the bench. She shot 5-for-11 from the field and 8-for-10 from the free throw line. She also collected four steals and had three assists.
“She provides a lot of energy and she’s tough and that’s what I’ve asked of the team,” said Mystics head coach Trudi Lacey about Ajavon, “she has stepped up and shown a lot of heart and a lot of toughness.”
Teammate forward Crystal Langhorne posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. She is now 13 rebounds away from 1,000 career rebounds. Monique Currie added 15 points, shooting 7-for-8 from the free throw line and pulled down five rebounds.
“It feels good to get our first win of the season,” said Currie. “It was a battle but I’m glad that we found a way to win. We still have a lot to work on especially playing against the world champions next week.”
Guard Ivory Latta led the Shock with 16 points. The Shock bench contributed 25 points led by rookie forward Glory Johnson who scored nine points and forward Jennifer Lacy who added eight.
Tulsa (0-3) heads to Los Angeles to face the Sparks on Tuesday. The The Mystics (1-1) host Minnesota on Wednesday.
In other WNBA action, the Sparks (3-1) earned a 99-88 road victory beating the Phoenix Mercury (1-2).
- The game featured 10 lead changes and 10 ties with the Mystics leading by as much as 16 points in the third quarter.
- The Shock outscored the Mystics 18-8 in the fourth quarter, bringing the score within one point at the 2:44 mark; however the Mystics never lost the lead.
- The Mystics outrebounded the Shock 40-27 and shot .457 from the field while the Shock had a field goal percentage of .305.
Washington Mystics head coach Trudi Lacey
Overall thoughts on the game
“It’s good to win, however I am not pleased with the types of turnover or the number of turnovers. We definitely have to make better decisions with the basketball. The turnovers were silly, I don’t know any other way to put it, and we have to continue to work on that. I felt like our defense was very good, especially our three-point field goal percentage defense. That is something we wanted to take away from them, because they have been shooting very well from there.”
On the strong start of the second half
“I think we came out very focused and determined, and again there is a different feel from playing from behind and then playing from a lead.”
Washington Mystics guard Matee Ajavon
On the first win of the season:
“We didn’t particularly play well but we were able to come out with the win. We have a lot of things to work on and we will practice and come out better.”
On playing the first game of season and playing aggressive:
“I felt pretty good. My teammates were behind me the whole time and I just felt confident.”
Expectations for next game vs. Minnesota:
“We have to get ourselves together. Minnesota is a great team and we have to cut down on our turnovers. I think we had 28 turnovers as coach pointed out, so we just have to cut down on turnovers and respect the ball as she said.”
Washington Mystics guard Monique Currie
On fourth quarter
“We knew Tulsa wouldn’t give up. They came back from being down 11 in the fourth quarter in their last game against Phoenix. They trap a lot and pressure the ball and we need to get to practice on breaking the presses and taking care of the ball because we didn’t do a great job of doing that tonight.”
Character to still come out with a win:
“Last year we lost so many games in the fourth quarter and so many by six points or less so being able to come out with a close win will give us some confidence.”
Tulsa Shock head coach Gary Kloppenburg
Overall thoughts on the game
“We’ve been digging our self into a hole in the third quarter and we did it again. It just seem like we go through a scoring drought and obviously we are offensively challenged at times. We got ourselves in a hole and I’m proud of the way they fought out of it but when you are trying to dig out, everything has to go perfectly. We’ve got to shoot the ball better. 30% is not going to get it no matter what type of defense you play. We’ve got a young team we got to keep working on it. It’s a willing group, they are willing to put the time in and they are very conscientious so I think we are going to make progress.”
Tulsa Shock guard Ivory Latta
Overall thoughts of the game
“It’s very frustrating. It’s like we are one shot away, or one pass off. It’s very frustrating but at the same time we have to go to LA and we have to get ready. We have to learn from this and step up. I am very hard on myself. The clock had two minutes and I had a very crucial turnover which gave them a little momentum. It is just something I have to go and get ready for the next game.”
On defensive pressure and forcing turnovers
“That’s great. We forced a lot of turnovers but we have to capitalize on our offensive end. We practice on defense every day in practice. The defense is there. We have some break downs but any team is going to have break downs. We just have to get right on the offensive end.”