By: Cassie Calvert
In the team’s preseason matinee versus the Minnesota Lynx, the Mystics gave fans an exciting preview of the season to come. With five ‘Stics in double figures, 17 assists and 52% shooting, the dominant 89-63 win was a true team effort.
“We had five in double figures and we had two more close,” Coach Mike Thibault said. “It shows that we’re moving the basketball and it shows we’re unselfish.”
Tayler Hill lead the team with 18 points on 4 for 7 shooting from beyond the arc and demonstrated she was back at peak performance. After giving birth a year ago, she was a wild card in the Mystics’ line up coming into the preseason. She matched her previous regular season high with four made threes. Hill has been working on her shot during training camp and will look for continued improvement going into the regular season.
“The more you practice, the more confident you get,” Hill said. “So I’m pretty confident, but it doesn’t stop here.”
The Lynx got off to a quick start, up 25-18 at the conclusion of the first quarter. In the second, Washington more than made up for a slow start, including two threes from Hill, ending the half with a one point lead. Minnesota’s fate was sealed when Washington went off for a dominant third quarter, outscoring the Lynx 29-10 and bringing the lead to 72-53 at the end of the quarter.
“We were able to attack the basket and move the ball,” Thibault said. “I thought our defense led us into good, fast break offense in the third quarter.”
With the Mystics shooting 52% as a team, Washington closed out the Lynx in the final quarter with a final score of 89 – 63.
Coach Thibault was also very impressed by the performance of rookie Natasha Cloud out of Saint Joseph’s, who finished with 10 points two rebounds and two assists.
“[Cloud]’s gonna be really special,” Thibault said. “I think she could be one of the best rookies that comes into the league this year, if not the best.”
With new additions like Cloud, alongside a solid returning core, the Mystics look to improve upon last season’s finish in the wide-open Eastern Conference.
The Mystics close out the preseason on Friday when they take on the Fever in Indiana (12:00pm). They begin the regular season on Friday, June 5th in Connecticut followed by their home opener on Saturday, June 6th against the Liberty.