Unable to Take Down Top Seeded Lynx

MYSTICS NOTES

  • The Minnesota Lynx (8-0) defeated the Washington Mystics (6-3), 98-73, Friday night at Verizon Center. Guard Tayler Hill led the way for the Mystics, tying her season high with 20 points, shooting 7-13 from the field and 3-6 from 3-point range. Hill has now scored 17-or-more points in her last four outings.
  • Lindsay Whalen became the WNBA’s all-time leader in regular season wins (295).
  • Center Sylvia Fowles led the way for the Lynx, scoring 21 points on 10-15 shooting and grabbing 11 rebounds.
  • Guard Ivory Latta scored 15 points, shooting 5-7 from the field and 1-2 from 3-point range, marking the highest point total for a Mystics player off the bench this season.
  • Forward Asia Taylor led the Mystics with seven rebounds.
  • Both the Mystics and Lynx grabbed 33 total rebounds. Minnesota tripled Washington in the assist category, 30-10.
  • Washington shot over 40% for the fifth time this season, converting on 26-63 (.413) field goal attempts.
  • The Mystics outscored the Lynx 9-2 in fast break points.
  • The Mystics trailed the Lynx, 33-20, after one quarter. Hill shot 3-5 from the field in the opening quarter and led the Mystics with 10 points. Minnesota’s 33 first-quarter points were the most they have scored in a single quarter this season.
  • The Lynx led the Mystics, 58-39, at halftime. Hill scored 14 of her game-high 20 in the opening half, shooting 5-9 from the field.
  • Forward Elena Delle Donne did not dress for the Mystics due to a left groin strain.

MYSTICS HEAD COACH MIKE THIBAULT

On how much of the result was missing Elena Delle Donne or something else:

“Just Elena alone wouldn’t have solved that. Emma [Meesseman] and Elena might have solved some of it. The fact of the matter is they are the best team, in my opinion, by a lot. What they just did to us, they did a week ago to Seattle. It was just as ugly for the loser and just as pretty for the winner. They have had a little bit of a rebirth, Minnesota. What they have done, a lot of veterans took the winter off. [Head Coach] Cheryl [Reeve] has upped the tempo for them, has asked some of them to work on – post players like [Rebekkah] Brunson and Natasha Howard to become better 3-point shooters. You are seeing the results. We are not in their league yet. I don’t know who is right now but we’re not. You are going to have nights where you don’t play great. The only thing that bothered me tonight was there were times in both halves where they would score a tough shot and our body language was to drop our shoulders, drop the head. That is not the way to get better. So we talked about that at a lot of the timeouts. When you have three post players who are playing way more minutes than they normally do, it skews the whole balance of our team. That was as much about Minnesota as it was about us tonight.”

On using this game as a gauge on where the team is:

“We just talked about that in there as a team. I told them that we play them again in two weeks and again the last game of the season. We kind of have that checkpoint to see where we are. I think that will be a better gauge. What I told them also was that we have a game just as important on Sunday, if not more so in many ways. You need to have short term memories about at least about Minnesota quickly. You need to flush it away and come in, when we walk in the gym tomorrow, be ready mentally to prepare for Indiana. A win on Sunday can takeaway this one. We weren’t going to come in and keep a win streak like theirs right now, so the key is how we respond and play on Sunday. Not how we play Minnesota in two weeks but how we play Indiana on Sunday.”

MYSTICS GUARD TAYLER HILL

On her 20-point game:

“My teammates were finding me. It was a little bit of rhythm, but we have to do better.” 

On coach’s message after the game:

“It was a learning day today for us. Minnesota is the best for a reason. They play well together, they’re coached great over there. It’s a learning curve for us. Like you said, we’re a new team. We’re a month in and we still don’t have all of our players here, so the chemistry will come as time goes on.”

On what to take from the loss:

“You learn from a team like Minnesota. Like I said, they’re the best team in the league. Why would you forget a game like this? You look at their offense and you look at their defense and you figure out what you can correct on your end and move on.”

MYSTICS GUARD IVORY LATTA

On what to take from the loss: 

“We have a game on Sunday. That was a great team, they’re undefeated for a reason, and they have great players. At the same time we’re not just going to hang our heads. Indiana is coming here on Sunday and they’re a great team too, so we have to learn from this game and move on. We have to get prepared tomorrow at practice for that team that is coming in on Sunday.” 

On what went wrong:

“They’re is a lot of things that we could have done better. We’re a great scoring team, it was mostly on the defensive end our rotations and things like that. We just have to continue to lock in a little bit more, but we’re going to get it. One of our big pieces wasn’t playing, [Elena] Delle Donne, but we can’t make that an excuse. We have to have people step up and they will. We’ll be fine and everything is going to work out.”

MYSTICS LEADERS:
Points: 
Hill – 20

Rebounds: Taylor – 7

Assists: Cloud, Latta, Toliver – 2

Steals: Six players – 1

LYNX HEAD COACH CHERYL REEVE

On the game:

“Obviously I think it went well for us, particularly in the first half in terms of keeping it simple on offense and taking what they were giving us. (Rebekkah) Brunson made them pay for some of the help that you have to provide against Sylvia (Fowles). I thought our offense was really good, it kind of kept them from getting into the pace they want to play at. They want to fly up the floor, try to get to the foul line and shoot threes, and I thought our offense really kept them out of that in the first half.”

On how defense plays into their game plan:

“It’s what we do. There’s no way we would find the success we have found over the past years without defending and rebounding, so we value that every day, especially on the road. I think that we had about five deflections in the first half, and got far more active in the second half. The number I’m really pleased with was our turnovers, and that we didn’t commit very many. I just thought our team was ready, we had some days to prepare and the Mystics were coming off of a road trip.”

LYNX GUARD MAYA MOORE:

On the Lynx reaching 30 team assists and how they are gelling:

“That’s a number that we really enjoy. When everyone is doing what they do in their position, within our system and within our flow, that’s the most fun that we have. So the fact that we can get that many assists usually means we have a good flow and everyone is feeling good.”

On their team defense tonight:

“Well defense is always an emphasis coming into every season for us. That’s where you win; when you can consistently get some stops that gives your offense an opportunity to create and run. Just being locked in to what they want to do, their identity, individual player tendencies…doing that with all five players is not easy, and there were moments we didn’t do it to perfection, but we did it enough to make them uncomfortable.”

LYNX CENTER SYLVIA FOWLES

On the team’s ball movement:

“I think that’s the beauty of our team as well. We don’t feel like we have to do everything. We don’t feel like we have one player that has to carry the team. And when we’re open, we’re open and if we’re not we make it our business to pass and get our teammates involved.”

On what went well for them tonight:

“Just being persistent. We know what Washington is good at. We know there go to. Definitely putting them on the board and keeping off the free throw line. I don’t think we did a good job at the free throw line. But we definitely make our business to defend and keep them from getting extra possessions because that’s what gets them going.”

LYNX LEADERS:
Points: 
Fowles – 21

Rebounds: Fowles – 11

Assists: Moore, Whalen – 6

Steals: Fowles, Moore, Perkins – 2