The Washington Mystics appeared sluggish to begin its game Sunday against the winless Dallas Wings.
The Mystics shot only 33 percent in the first quarter and trailed 20-15. They woke up in the second quarter thanks to 12 points off the bench from Tianna Hawkins and Ariel Powers to lead 40-34 at halftime.
Washington didn’t trail anymore and cruised to an 86-62 victory before slightly more than 3,500 people at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in southeast D.C.
Hawkins led the team with 21 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Powers, who scored 18 points in her third game of the season after returning from injury, boosts the bench with Emma Meesseman absent for about a month to play with Belgium in the European Basketball Championship. In addition, Powers was drafted by Dallas in 2016.
“A lot of times you might see me taken a deep breath just to relax myself [and] get my heart rate down,” Powers said. “I try to just relax and remember why I am out there.”
Offensively, fans can expect the team to let the 3-pointers fly. Washington (4-1) leads the league in 3-point attempts with 25 per game. On Sunday, the team attempted its second-most attempts at 31, converting 12 to shoot 39 percent.
Overall from the floor, Washington shot 44 percent, three points below the team’s average of nearly 47 percent, which ranks second in the WNBA.
Also, Washington shot 14 of 16, or 87 percent, from the free throw line.
“The game is going to layups and free throws and threes,” said head coach Mike Thibault. “That’s what we’re trying to be really good at. The analytics tell you that’s the most efficient way to play. Twelve threes [are] a lot of points.”
Although the Mystics can score, Thibault credited the team’s defense that allowed Dallas (0-4) to score 42 points in the final three quarters.
The Wings shot only 3 of 14, or 21 percent, from beyond the arc. The team, which ranks near the bottom of the 12-team league in 3-point shooting percentage and attempts, was also without four-time All-Star guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, who gave birth to a baby in the offseason.
Washington plays again Tuesday on the road against the Connecticut Sun (5-1), which holds the best record in the league and is undefeated at home.
Throughout the season, the Mystics will continue to focus on this season’s theme “Run It Back,” which has become the team’s mantra after losing in last season’s WNBA Finals.
“Day in and day out, we want to get better and run it back,” said Mystics guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough. “We want to bring a championship back to D.C. We can’t start focusing on that in August. It starts now. That means every possession matters [and] every game matters.”