Without Elena Delle Donne, Mystics fall to Lynx, 98-73 in record-breaking game for Lindsay Whalen

Minnesota Lynx at Washington Mystics. Photo: Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty Images.
Minnesota Lynx at Washington Mystics. Photo: Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty Images.

WASHINGTON- The Washington Mystics four-game home-winning streak was snapped with a devastating 73-98 loss to the Minnesota Lynx Friday evening. The Mystics played without their leading shooter and rebounder, Elena Delle Donne who has a left groin injury.

“Emma [Messeeman] and Elena [Delle Donne] might solve some of it,” head coach Mike Thibault said on why the Mystics loss. “The fact of the matter is they’re the best team in my opinion, by a lot. What they just did to us, they did against Seattle. It was just as ugly for the loser and pretty for the winners.”

The game’s outcome wasn’t just the Mystics off of their usual stellar shooting and defense. With Emma Messeeman playing overseas with the Belgian national team for EuroBasket, Delle Donne served as a safety net for the Mystics to crash the boards and take initiative in rebounding against defenders.

The rhythm and energy for the first seven games was not present, and with the time ticking away as they tried to find a concrete rhythm, the Lynx capitalized from their discombobulation.

The Lynx came out with a blazing offense. Keeping the game in their own tempo, they jumped out on a commanding 30-16 lead with 1:15 remaining in the first quarter. Power forward Rebekkah Brunson found success with 9 points in the opening quarter. Sylvia Fowles had the most success throughout the game.

“We knew what we needed to take care of,” Fowles said. “Whether it be rebounding, being unselfish, or scoring consistently- we had to do all those little things to take care of the bigger picture.”

Fowles finished with a double-double. (21 points, 11 rebounds and five assists).

While the Mystics struggled, the team’s guards Ivory Latta and Tayler Hill shined with their leadership and stamina. They were the only players to reach double digits in scoring, combining for 35 of the total 73 Mystics’ points.

“I had to continue to lift my teammates up.” Latta said about her message to the team’s performance. “[Lynx] are making shots and we can’t hang our heads. We have to continue to push back and see what we can do on the offensive end. It’s all about the energy.”

Late in the second quarter, forward Tianna Hawkins and Latta became a duo to cut the 15-point lead in the quarter to eight. Thibault said that the offensive effort from the two guards was appreciated to stop the Lynx’s momentum, but the team has to work on defense to combat the lack of a team performance.

“I think on the offensive end [Tayler] was a very big bright spot,” Thibault said about Hill’s performance. “I think she and Ivory kept competing on the offensive end but there’s two ends of the court. We just need everybody defending and scoring. It’s nice to see a bright spot on offense but I would prefer to see some on defense.”

Latta finished with 15 points and two assists while Tayler Hill finished with the team-high 20 points. Hill said though the winning streak has been broke, the game against a powerhouse team like the Lynx is not to be taken light hearted and be learning experience. The Lynx powerful performance showed their likelihood to reach the WNBA Finals for the second time in a row.

“You learn from a team like Minnesota.” Hill said on the loss. “They’re the best team in the league. Why would you forget a game like this? You look at their offense and you look at their defense and see what you can correct.”

As a team, the Mystics went 38 percent from the floor (32-for-83). The Lynx executed a clean defense against the Mystics collecting 14 fouls on the night. In past games, free throws have helped the Mystics lift the team over their opponent. Against the Lynx, they visited the line to shoot for 16 free throws but the completed 15 wouldn’t get them over the Lynx.

The Mystics committed 18 turnovers that served as 26 points for the Mystics. Though a tough time in the paint for Washington, both teams tied at 33 in rebounding. The Lynx were able to take a commanding 29 point lead in the fourth quarter behind the five of the Lynx’s player reaching double digits and 30 assists. With some of the best players in the world and Olympians on the Minnesota Lynx, it shows their success is nothing short of hard work and fluid chemistry on both sides of the ball.

“These are numbers we really enjoy,” said Lynx forward Maya Moore said on the all around success. “The fact that we can get that many assists at along with our field goals it usually means we have a good flow and everyone’s playing well.”

Moore and Brunson both finished with 17 points on the big win. The Lynx win also marked a historic milestone for veteran Lindsay Whalen, who is now the most winningest player in the WNBA. Whalen passed  Swin Cash for her 295th win against the Mystics.

“I’m happy to do it here as a Lynx,” Whalen, a Minnesota native said. “You take it one at a time and before you know it- it’s 295. It goes fast but it’s definitely fun to be a part of it. I’m happy.”

The  Mystics will have to recover from the loss quickly, as they prepare for another home matchup against the Indiana Fever, led by Candice Dupree who averages 15 points per game, on May 11 at 3 p.m. ET. The undefeated Lynx will look to go 9-0 against the Dallas Wings on June 12.

“We have a game that’s just as important on Sunday, if not, more so,” Thibault said. “We need to have short term memories about Minnesota. We have to flush it away mentally. When we walk in the gym tomorrow we need to be mentally ready to prepare for Indiana.”

Thibault said Delle Donne is still questionable for Sunday’s game against the Fever.


  • With the win, Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen makes history with 295 wins- the most of any player in WNBA history.
  • 6-2 was the best record for the Mystics in 15 seasons
  • Points in the Paint: Lynx 40 (20/32), Mystics 30 (15/30)
  • Biggest Lead: Lynx 29, Mystics 0
  • 2nd Chance Points: Lynx 11 (5/12), Mystics 11 (4/6)
  • Fast Break Points: Lynx 2 (1/1), Mystics 9 (3/5 )
  • As a team, the Mystics shot 26-63 (.412) from the field and  6-20 (.300) from 3-point range.
  • Lynx shot 40-76 (.526) from the field and 11-24 (.458) from behind the arc.
  • Assists: Lynx: 30 Mystics: 10
  • Both teams recorded 33 rebounds.
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