After losing Friday for the first time in nearly three weeks, the Washington Mystics took their frustration out on the New York Liberty on Sunday in another dominant home-court victory, 101-72, before a sellout crowd at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in southeast D.C.
All 11 Mystics players who dressed scored led by Elena Delle Donne’s 22 points and 10 rebounds, her seventh double-double this season.
“You usually don’t have to wait long to try to get that [losing] taste out of your mouth,” said Mystics head coach Mike Thiabult. “It was important that we played with 48 hours to kind of cleanse. That’s kind of what today was a little bit.”
Thibault said the team watched some film from Friday’s loss to the Chicago Sky before Sunday’s game. He wasn’t pleased with the defense that allowed Chicago (17-11) to shoot 46 percent from floor. In comparison, Washington’s offense shot 36 percent in Chicago what Thibault said “felt like a playoff atmosphere.”
The Mystics fans were jubilant for nearly the entire game at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in southeast D.C., but the New York Liberty aren’t a title contender this season.
New York (9-20) has now lost two in a row and 10 of their past 11, pushing them further from playoff contention with five games left in the regular season.
Liberty guard Kia Nurse led all scorers with 24 points and a career-high six 3-pointers, while center Tina Charles, who leads the team in scoring, chipped in with 16 points.
Although Washington (21-8) continue to go without the services of All-Star point guard Kristi Tolliver, who is out with a bruised knee, the Mystics recorded 30 assists and shot 53 percent from the floor.
Washington scored over the century mark for the fifth time this season, all at home.
However, Delle Donne admitted not having Toliver on the court “sucks.”
The team’s depth helps with two reserve players, Emma Messeeman and Tianna Hawkins, scoring 14 and 15 points, respectively.
“Our depth has been the strength this whole season,” Delle Donne said. “Everybody being able to step up. Everybody being so talented. Everybody being skilled and athletic. It helps to fill different roles and play different positions. This is a really good challenge for us.”
The Mystics can tie a franchise record with 22 victories on Tuesday in D.C. against the Los Angeles Sparks, which clinched a playoff spot and currently sit atop the Western Conference. The teams are tied 1-1 in head-to-head matchups.