From the opening tip, the Washington Mystics ran away from the Tulsa Shock for an 83-63 win. In front of over 10,000 fans, the Mystics started fast with an 8-0 lead and did not look back. The Mystics never trailed as it built a 24 point lead before settling for a twenty point win.
It was a much needed win for the Mystics after dropping its last four contests and starting the season 1-5. The Shock have had their own problems as they have now lost 14 consecutive on the road, but the Shock came in with a lot of confidence having beaten the Mystics last weekend and knowing that the young Mystic team had been struggling.
The story of the day for the Mystics was defense. After finishing with the Eastern Conference’s best record last year while giving up a league-low 73.3 points per game, the Mystics are allowing 84.7 this season – third-most. On Tuesday night, the Mystics allowed the Indiana Fever to shoot 54.7 percent from the floor. At the time, coach Trudi Lacey said that “we had some defensive breakdowns (at the end) and gave them some wide open looks and some easy layups.”
Today, the Mystics held the Shock to 63 points on 35.3% shooting. In the decisive third quarter, the Mystics shut down the Shock holding the them to only 10 points and the Shock scored no more than 18 points in any quarter.
Good defense usually leads to easy points and the story was no different for the Mystics today as the Mystics held a 19-4 advantage in fast break points. As coach Lacey put it, “we’re pretty good when can defend, get out and run a little bit.”
Crystal Langhorne led the way for the Mystics with 23 points and 7 rebounds and Matee Ajavon added 21 points, six assists, four steals and five rebounds. Ajavon’s tenacity on defense set the tone. Langhorne, in particular, got the team going early with some quick buckets in the first quarter.
But the energy provided by Marissa Coleman who scored 13 points and had a career high in rebounds with 12 and Nicky Anosike who scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds really made a difference. Coleman’s and Anosike’s rebounds solidified the defensive effort.
Thinking about their recent struggles in stopping opponents on the defensive end and already losing five games this season, Anosike said “I think we were just desperate and we played desperate tonight.”
Next up for the Mystics is the Seattle Storm, this coming Sunday at the Verizon Center.