- The Washington Mystics (4-2) defeated the Connecticut Sun (1-5), 78-76, today at Verizon Center, led by guard Tayler Hill’s 18 points and career-high eight assists.
- Forward Elena Delle Donne scored 13 points and grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds, marking her first double-double in a Mystics uniform. Delle Donne also recorded a season-high five blocks.
- Eleven of the Mystics’ 19 first quarter points came off the bench [Cloud (4), Latta (3), Hawkins (2), Walker-Kimbrough (2)].
- Forward Shekinna Stricklen led the way for the Sun with 20 points, shooting 7-12 from the field and 6-9 from 3-point range, including 3-3 from three in the fourth quarter. As a team, Connecticut shot 10-17 (.588) from behind the arc.
- The Mystics and Sun each recorded 38 total rebounds. Connecticut topped the Mystics in assists, 20-17.
- After the Sun opened the game on a 10-0 run, the Mystics went on a 23-11 run between the first and second quarters to take a 23-21 lead with 6:46 remaining in the first half.
- Hill led the Mystics with eight points and three assists at halftime, while Delle Donne grabbed a team-high seven first-half rebounds.
- Three Mystics players tied with a team-high five fourth quarter points (Delle Donne, Thomas, Hill).
MYSTICS HEAD COACH MIKE THIBAULT
On the game:
“A month from now we’ll only remember it as a win. In the moment, it feels really ugly. We made a lot of mistakes and figured out a way to defend hard enough to win. A lot of mistakes at the end, and I guess we made up for it when somehow some karma allowed [Alex] Bentley to miss one. Not the prettiest game, but when you shoot 35 percent and you still win, I guess there is a lot of beauty in that. The things that we’ve been trying to emphasize actually won us the game; battling the board, don’t turn it over, get to the free throw line more than the other team and we did that. We shot 29 free throws, we only had eight turnovers, and that helps you get through bad shooting nights.”
On getting to the free throw line 29 times:
“When we put this team together, one of the things was to make sure that our best players were good free throw shooters. When you’re struggling shooting the ball it helps that your two leading scorers can shoot 15 free throws between them. That’s bailed us out a little bit. It’s partly because they get in an attack mode a little bit. I’ve watched too many teams struggle in their seasons because they can’t make free throws, and that’s been a big deal for us.”
MYSTICS FORWARD ELENA DELLE DONNE
On the Mystic’s defensive effort:
“When shots aren’t falling early in the season sometimes that will make a team lose a game, and we were able to stay in the game because of our defense and our rebounding. That’s huge. It’s something we will continue to improve and get better, and hopefully, our shots will fall next time.”
On adjusting to being guarded in the post:
“Yeah, it took me a little while to adjust to it. We watched some film at half and I was really able to settle in and see. We were really able to get (Tierra Ruffin-) Pratt into really nice areas where she could cut and be open where we could find her. We just tried to exploit those double teams and mismatches.
MYSTICS GUARD IVORY LATTA
On the mood on the court during the 4th quarter comeback:
“The mood was actually pretty calm. Everybody looked around and said, ‘hey, take our time, one possession at a time.’ Coach was saying that right now our offense isn’t flowing, it’s not going the way it’s supposed to, we have to defend. And we did, we came up with some big rebounds, some big stops, and we made free throws down the stretch.”
On her message to forward Elena Delle Donne in the 4th quarter:
“She’s a superstar. You just have to tell her to keep going. If you don’t tell her she’s going to keep going regardless. That’s the great thing about playing with somebody like her anyway. It doesn’t take a lot for her to keep going, and once she’s going, just let her do her thing. Like I said, everybody wasn’t there offensively, but on the defensive end we came together. We didn’t give up.”
Points: Hill – 18
Rebounds: Delle Donne – 12
Assists: Hill – 8
Steals: Ruffin-Pratt – 3
SUN HEAD COACH CURT MILLER
On the game:
“Great game. I thought we executed a lot of our game plan. We outscored them by 18 points in the field. We really bothered them with what we did. No one made more than five baskets against us. When the game was on the line, they put their heads down and got calls and we didn’t.”
On getting an early lead:
“We knew what they were going to do coming into the game and we exploited how they play defense.”
On being physical with the Mystics:
“I thought our game plan was executed. I thought we bothered them. Not many teams are going to hold [Elena] Delle Donne to what we just did.
SUN CENTER JONQUEL JONES
On the game:
“I think the game was well played. I think what hurt us today was not finishing the game the way we want to. We always put ourselves in a position to win, we just couldn’t do it at the end.”
On the mindset coming into the game:
“We just had different stuff that we wanted to do on ball screens, different things that we wanted to do on different matchups. We wanted to be conscious of what we were doing and make them move.”
On the fourth quarter:
“It was just us fouling too much. We put them on the free-throw line really early. I think they were in the bonus around the six-minute mark. We just have to play straight up defense without giving up too much leverage in terms of being able to shoot free throws early in the quarter.”
SUN FORWARD SHEKINNA STRICKLEN
On her offensive success today:
“My teammates were looking for me. I was just moving. They were setting good screens and I was just being smart, knowing they were running at me. Pump faking. I had confidence in my shot.”
On how well the Suns are when they hit 3-pointers:
“It puts a lot of pressure on them. They focus on that. We have a good inside game. We have people that can get to the basket. It’s a big plus. It opens the court up and allows us to go one-on-one and drive to the basket.”
On the physical mindset of the game:
“At the beginning of the game, we were aggressive. Down the stretch, we started fouling a lot and we had some mistakes on our end. They were smart and kept coming at us and getting the fouls.”
Points: Stricklen – 20
Rebounds: Jones – 13
Assists: J. Thomas – 6
Steals: Kizer – 4