Mystics use early lead to cruise past Lynx

After a tough loss to the Phoenix Mercury at home on Friday, the Mystics hit the court at Verizon Center with a vengeance Sunday, outplaying and ultimately outscoring the Minnesota Lynx, 87-63.

Washington ended the game shooting 47.1% from the field compared to the Lynx’s 37.7%, as Emma Meesseman and Tayler Hill led the way with 20 and 17 points, respectively. Defensively, the Mystics’ prowess shined bright; the team held Seimone Augustus scoreless for the first time in her 11-season WNBA career.

“It started on our defensive end. We came out with so much energy and pressure in full court and that translated into our offense,” said Hill following the victory.

From the first quarter on, Washington took a strong lead they didn’t surrender for the rest of the game.

Less than halfway through the first, a 3-pointer from Natasha Cloud capped an assertive 12-4 Mystics run that forced a Lynx timeout. By the end of the first quarter, Washington boasted a 61.9 FG%, including six 3-pointers. The Mystics finished the game with 11 3-pointers, a season-high.

Emma Meesseman went a perfect 7/7 from the floor in the first quarter, netting 16 points for the Mystics as the highest scorer of the frame, while the Mystics defense held the highest Lynx shooters to just 4 points each.

Entering the second quarter, the Mystics maintained their intensity on both sides of the court. Within a minute of play, Ivory Latta’s pull-up jumper extended Washington’s lead to 35-16. At the 7:20 mark, Hill stretched the Mystics lead to 40-18 with a breakaway running layup and stretched her own point count into double digits before the half. Washington entered the locker room with 22-point lead at 52-30.

Within a few minutes of the third quarter, on the wings of quick shots from Cloud, Meesseman, and TRP, the Mystics had boosted their 22-point lead to a 25, their largest lead of the night.

Right out of the gates in the fourth, Bria Hartley (9 points) sunk a long 3-pointer and followed with a driving layup to put the Mystics up 68-45. Tianna Hawkins also drained a 3-ball to give her 11 points on the night, and Jamie Weisner quickly followed with yet another. 10 of the 11 Mystics to play Sunday recorded at least three points.

“Going into the game we knew we were playing one of the top teams in the league right now, and the biggest thing was coming out with a lot of energy and matching the consistency that they play with every night,” said Hawkins.

The Mystics’ energy and consistency will be tested again this week as they prepare for Wednesday afternoon’s matchup with the San Antonio Stars at Verizon Center.