October 19, 2021

Washington Mystics Game 5 Recap: Mystics rookies lead the way in thrilling 92-84 3OT win over LA Sparks

Bria Hartley goes up for a shot during Sunday's game against the LA Sparks. Image courtesy of Monumental Network.

Bria Hartley goes up for a basket during Sunday’s game against the LA Sparks. Image courtesy of Monumental Network.

Led by first-year players Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson, the Washington Mystics secured the first ever triple overtime win in franchise history, defeating the Los Angeles Sparks 92-84. Hartley posted a career-high 20 points, and Dolson put up 14 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. It was their second consecutive win of the season, and their second consecutive win at home.

The Mystics bench outscored the Sparks 63-29, went 20-for-22 at the free-throw line, gathered 52 rebounds (a franchise record) and had 31 turnovers, which Coach Mike Thibault though was surprising.

“Well, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a score where you win a game in three overtimes and can have 31 turnovers,” he said.  ” [It took ] a lot of heart to win a game like that, when I’m looking at all the young players and I’m going ‘holy smokes.’ You got to get tested somewhere and they survived the test.”

Thibault also mused that high-pressure games are what aid the maturity of the younger players. “…game situations where you have score and time and fouls to give situations, inbounding against pressure, and all those things you have something to teach off of. Both on film and on the court, the things you preached at them that sometimes they may not always believe all come out in a game like this.”

“And we learned some valuable lessons while you’re doing it. I’d rather much learn the lessons and get a win at the end, than saying it was a great learning lesson and having a loss. It was really ugly for a while but really good in many ways too.”

Ivory Latta added 14 points and a team-high 8 assists, Monique Currie and Jelena Milovanovic had 12 points apiece, and Emma Meesseman scored 8 points and had 4 rebounds.

“I feel good and especially that we got a win in front of our crowd. It’s always a great feeling; we just have to continue the streak and play together and play hard,” said Latta. “To be honest this is what I train for, stuff like this. We pulled it out, we dug down and got it together.”

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.




D.C. United Game 16 Recap: Finally, United earns a league win

D.C. United ended its 13-match winless streak in Major League Soccer play Saturday night with a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes before 13,149 at RFK Stadium in Washington. United’s record improved to 2-11-3 (9 points). San Jose dropped to 4-7-6 (18 points).

The win marked United’s first league triumph since March 9 – a 1-0 win at home over Real Salt Lake in just the second match of the season. That win left D.C. 1-1-0 on the campaign, but the next three-and-a-half months of defensive breakdowns, toothless offense, and bad luck left United entering late June still seeking that elusive second win. [Read more…]

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