Everybody Loves Playoffs
Tonight’s win over Los Angeles means the Mystics have tied their previous season high, set back in 2010, of 22 season wins (if you include the Aces forfeit in the tally). Sunday’s game against Minnesota means the ‘Stics still have a chance to top that record and put their names at the top of the history books.
With historic numbers in reach, attention is already shifting to thoughts of the playoffs. Everyone from Natasha Cloud, who let fans know, “this is a championship team” following her clutch final shot; to Coach Thibault, who told reporters, “(tonight) felt like a playoff game, two teams acted like this was a playoff game” has postseason on the brain.
Whole Team Effort
As the Ringer’s Shea Serrano put it, “Elena Delle Donne is a monster giant.” One thing is certain, her presence on the stat sheet has certainly been a monster giant one this season, and tonight’s matchup against the Sparks was no different. EDD logged 16 points, 10 rebounds and 2 assists on the night – figures she has been putting up consistently the entire season. Fellow starters Kristi Toliver and Latoya Sanders followed closely with 12 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists and 10 points and 8 rebounds respectively.
Coach Thibault also gave a nod to Washington’s bench players during his postgame comments, saying, “we got a huge lift from our bench tonight, that’s the best our bench has played in a long time.” In particular, Aerial Powers added 10 points and 10 rebounds and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt logged 9 points for the night. If tonight’s postgame makes anything clear it’s that Washington is playing as a unit and they are laser focused on the postseason.
Cloud in the Clutch
A quick glance at the stat sheet would leave you with the impression that Natasha Cloud was having an off night, but two of her four points came via buzzer beater to catapult the Mystics to victory over the Sparks. Coach Thibault summed up Cloud’s night during his postgame by saying, “Tash couldn’t hit a shot all night and then she goes down at the end and hits it when it matters.” Better late than never, right?
All Eyes on Atlanta
With the playoff picture coming into to focus, the next highlight on the Mystics journey to the postseason is whether or not Atlanta can hold on to the number two seed. With the win tonight, if the Stics can take home a W Sunday against the Lynx and Atlanta loses both its matchup tonight against Phoenix as well as its final game against Las Vegas; Washington will move into the two seed. Sliding into the two-spot would mean two bye rounds instead of just one if they hold at three. With renovations still underway at Capital One Arena, the Mystics playoff game will be hosted at a local DC university’s basketball arena – to be determined depending on scheduling.