Washington Mystics find consistency, blow past Seattle Storm 100-70
— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) June 27, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Washington Mystics evened the game series with the Seattle Storm at 1-1 after a 100-70 win at the Verizon Center Tuesday afternoon on “Camp Day” for local kids.
— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) June 27, 2017
“Given how Seattle has always been a tough game for us, the defense we played in the first half that got us running was special,” head coach Mike Thibault said about the victory. The Mystics scored 29 points in the first ten minutes compared to the Storm’s 12.
“In the first quarter, holding somebody to 12 points and getting out and scoring, I thought our defense got us out running,” Thibault continued. “Obviously, we knocked down some threes in the beginning and that helps your confidence.”
The Mystics found success in transitions against the Storm.
“At halftime we held them to 37 percent,” Thibault said. “We made shots tough for them for Jewell (Lloyd) and Sue (Bird) and took away good looks. The name of the game is to make people comfortable and that’s what we did.”
The Mystics capitalized with eight fast break points in the first quarter to create a 17-point margin. Kristi Toliver and Tayler Hill set the tone with precise ball movement and fast break against the Storm and by completing six-of-seven free throws.
“When we went and got Elena (Delle Donne) and Kristi (Toliver) it was a planned thing to spread the court and make everyone extend their defense against us.” Thibault said. “I think Kristi’s getting more comfortable on the team. Her teammates and coaches are encouraging her to get more aggressive offensively. She’s starting to say ‘Okay, I’m good here.’”
The Mystics’ three-point attempts are the highest in the league. Thibault and guard Toliver agreed the team readies their weapon to pounce early on teams. Beyond the arc, the Mystics finished their game going 10-for-24 in three pointers (.417) and 26-for-29 (.897) in free throws. This is still without last year’s best three-point shooter Belgian national Emma Meesseman, who will be reinstated soon since the EuroBasket tournament has concluded.
The Storm’s Sue Bird only had 3 points in the first half as Mystics’ team defense helped them crowd her shooting window and keep the Seattle away from their persistence beyond the arc. The Storm shot 15.4 percent (2-of-13) from beyond the arc in the first half.
“For the most part, I felt like we didn’t get really good looks.” Bird said on the loss. “I think about some of the threes that I got, some of the threes I remember some of my teammates getting; they were open. We just didn’t knock them down. And on the other side, they did.”
The Storm came back with more consistency in the paint in the second half instead of scoring attempts from three-point land. Breanna Stewart caught fire and helped the Storm get accustomed to having a post player to help them cut into the Mystics’ 25-point lead. Stewart was the only Storm with double digits, ending the first half with 11 points. Washington went into the break with a 56-31 advantage.
Deep leads for the Mystics are not always sign of comfort for the Mystics. Even with a big lead against the Dallas Wings, the Mystics had a sudden absence on both sides of the ball to open up the second half.
“That’s something we’ve been working on,” Krystal Thomas said on continuing the second half performance. “We’ve been letting our foot off the gas so today we wanted to keep pouring it on them and sending it to them in waves. Don’t stop playing and competing.”
The Mystics sung a different tune for the second half today, eliminating lapses and only adding on to their lead and closing the game to win. The Storm attempted to brew trouble in the second half with center Crystal Langhorne finding consistency in the paint and Ramu Tokashiki challenging Delle Donne on the boards. Langhorne recorded the team-high’s 15 points and Stewart grabbed 7 rebounds.
Nine Mystics players scored as depth and consistency continued their success for the 30-point win. Four players reached double digits.
Delle Donne, Krystal Thomas and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt defended the basket for Washington, collecting 29 of the team’s 33 rebounds. Ruffin-Pratt had notable success out of the trio, recording another double-double in the season. She finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Delle Donne had 25 points in 25 minutes plus five rebounds. Tianna Hawkins and Ivory Latta both accumulated eight points.
On the loss, Storm head coach Jenny Boucek said the team’s consistency and ball movement were weak points.
“For the most part, I felt like we didn’t get really good looks,” Boucek said.
The Mystics improve to 9-5 (.643), placing third in the league behind the Los Angeles Sparks. The Seattle Storm fall to 6-7 (.462) for seventh place in the league. The Mystics are back in the Verizon Center June 29 for an Eastern conference matchup against the New York Liberty. The Storm travel to face the Connecticut Sun on the same day.
- Mystics even the season series with Storm 1-1
- Biggest Lead: Mystics: 36 Storm: 1
- Tierra Ruffin-Pratt recorded her second double-double of the season.
- Mystics outrebounded the Storm 33-32
- Turnovers: Mystics: 11 (4 pts) Storm: 23 (31 pts)
- Points in the Paint: Mystics: 32 Storm: 26
- 2nd Chance Points: Storm: 13 Mystics: 4
- Technical Fouls: Mystics: Latta double technical at the 1:11 mark of the 3rd quarter, Latte was ejected.