November 16, 2019

Washington Mystics Game 4 Recap: Mystics defeat Liberty 68-60, earn first home win of the season

Image courtesy of Monumental Network.

Washington’s Ivory Latta dribbles past New York’s Anna Cruz. Image courtesy of Monumental Network.

“We’re desperate, we need it, it’s our win tonight. No matter what it takes, we gotta do it.” That’s how Washington Mystics center Kia Vaughn described the team’s mindset heading into Friday night’s game against the New York Liberty. After a lackluster showing against the Seattle Storm May 24, the Mystics needed to seize their home court advantage to set their season back on track.

A strong first half and a dominating 4th quarter rush (led by 5′ 6″ guard Ivory Latta) propelled the Mystics to their first home win of the season, a 68-60 victory over the New York Liberty.

Latta led the team with 15 points, 12 of which came in the second half. Vaughn called her a “gut check” player for the team tonight – a player that everyone can trust to step up and make big plays when its needed. “That’s the type of player we need on the team,” she said.

“Everyone’s like “who’s gonna take the big shot?” that’s a gut check, go for it. Because now we all feel comfortable enough that you’re going to do it, and it’s going to be your role. As the season goes on, it could be someone else, but we need that within this league.”

Rebounds were a significant area of improvement for the Mystics Friday night, and crucial to their victory, nearly doubling up on the Liberty on the boards, 41-26. That was the difference for the Mystics, and allowed them to sneak past the Liberty after an ugly 3rd quarter, where they were outscored 18-12, and into the win column.

“The post players were totally relentless on the boards,” said Latta, who contributed 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 15 points (she shot 6-for-9 from the field)  in the win.

Coach Mike Thibault vowed last week to remedy the team’s rebounding woes. Friday night, he told reporters that the significant improvement in rebounding was the result of some tough practices that week.

“When we play against New York, I think the important thing is to play bigger against them. We were able to put bigger players on the floor and it helps with the rebounding because of it too. The emphasis all week was on rebounding and tonight it paid off,” he said. “We won the game with extra possessions. I am happy that the things we worked on this week is what got us the win.”

Six-foot-three guard Tianna Hawkins led the team with 9 rebounds, guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt finished with a team high 4 assists, and forward Jelena Milvanovic and center Kia Vaughn each contributed 14 points. Milovanovic made her debut as a starter for the first time this season. Forward Emma Meesseman finished the night with 9 points.

 

 

 

Washington Mystics Acquire Kia Vaughn

Washington Mystics Press Release Logo 2013WASHINGTON MYSTICS ACQUIRE KIA VAUGHN

Washington, D.C. – Washington Mystics General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault announced today that the team has acquired center Kia Vaughn and a second round pick (17th overall) from the New York Liberty in exchange for their first round pick (seventh overall) recently received from the Atlanta Dream.

“This is another big step in our re-making of this team,” said Thibault. “Kia is a proven but still young veteran who can play both post positions and will be a great compliment to Crystal Langhorne. She has made great strides since she came into the league and yet I think her best basketball is still ahead of her. We are excited to have her and look forward to her having a major impact on our bright future.”

A 6-4 center from Rutgers University, Vaughn was selected by the Liberty in the first round (eight overall) of the 2009 WNBA Draft and has averaged 5.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in 129 career games. In 2011, in addition to starting every contest, she set career highs in every category (including 10.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game) on her way to being named the league’s Most Improved Player. Vaughn assisted the Liberty to three consecutive playoff appearances (2010-2012) and has averaged 6.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in post season play.

One of only four players in Rutgers history to record more than 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in career, Vaughn was named to numerous All Big-East teams.

The Mystics currently hold the fourth, 17th, 19th and 25th picks in the 2013 WNBA draft.

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