Mystics fall at home to Mercury

Despite a strong 3rd quarter push, the Mystics lost 91-79 to the Mercury at home Friday night at Verizon Center. With the loss, they fell to 7-8 on the season. The team shot 44.4% from the field, but only 33% from the 3-point line.

Washington’s defense had trouble stopping Phoenix guard Diana Taurasi, who had 27 points, and co-star Brittney Griner, who finished with 22. The Mercury improve to 5-9.

“Our game has to start with defense,” said Emma Meesseman following the loss.

Four Mystics reached double digits Friday night. Natasha Cloud tallied a career-high 18 points, doubling her previous record of 9 points. She hit five 3-pointers and shot 6/11 from the field. Tayler Hill also scored 18 points, 10 of which came from the free throw line.

In the starting frontcourt, Meesseman and Stefanie Dolson each put up 10 points off. Dolson’s team-high seven rebounds were critical in helping the Mystics outrebound Phoenix 30-28 on the night.

At the end of the first, the Mercury led 23-15. The Mystics were shooting just 35.3% from the field compared to Phoenix’s 42.1% mark.

In the second quarter, Cloud hit her first 3-pointer of the night while Hill reached double digits with 13 points, but Washington still trailed by 15 at the break.

The Mystics came out stronger in the third quarter, when they brought the Mercury’s lead down to five points. Cloud hit three more 3-pointers in the frame. Overall, Washington shot 45.3% and put 25 points on the board during the third.

Unfortunately, the momentum didn’t last into the fourth quarter, where Phoenix pushed forward to bring its lead to 12 at the final buzzer. Despite the tough loss at home, Cloud remained optimistic with two more home games coming up this week.

“We can take some things from [the loss] as we’re progressing into Sunday,” Cloud stated.

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (4 points) echoed Cloud’s optimism with a big matchup coming up to cap off the weekend.

Said Pratt, “We just need to come out aggressive, play hard, and do what we know how to do.”

The Mystics return to Verizon Center this Sunday, June 26th at 4 p.m. to take on the undefeated Minnesota Lynx.