Mystics lean on their protection for a bounce-back win over the Lynx


The Minnesota Lynx got here to Washington as one of many hottest groups within the WNBA. They’d gained 4 of 5, notching victories in opposition to the league’s high two groups.

In that stretch, they had been the second-highest-scoring crew within the league. On Sunday, they bumped into the WNBA’s No. 1 protection.

The Washington Mystics locked up the Lynx en path to a 70-57 victory to enhance to 5-2 of their previous seven video games.

There’s no purpose that we aren’t bringing such a defensive depth each single night time, particularly when on offense we’re nonetheless figuring it out,” level guard Natasha Cloud stated.

The 57 factors had been a season low for the Lynx (10-17), who shot 33.three % and had 16 turnovers. The Mystics (16-11) scored 17 factors off these giveaways.

The Mystics shot simply 37.7 %, however they will survive these form of outings due to their protection. Elena Delle Donne scored a game-high 21 factors to go along with 10 rebounds and three assists. Ariel Atkins chipped in 15 factors, 5 rebounds, three steals and two assists. Cloud added seven factors, eight assists and 6 rebounds, and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough had 11 factors off the bench.

“It’s been our identification from Day One,” Delle Donne stated of the protection. “We’ve added items of the puzzle that … are simply so good defensively. Coming off [Thursday’s loss at Phoenix], we had been annoyed that our protection struggled. It’s all proper if our offense struggles, however our protection ought to all the time be constant and it ought to all the time be what makes us go. So to bounce again, to play like this was large for us.”

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Kayla McBride led the Lynx with 16 factors; former Mystics participant Aerial Powers was held to 11 on 5-for-16 capturing.

We made them should take powerful pictures,” Mystics Coach Mike Thibault stated. “We had been decided to make each shot contested for them.”

Atkins stated a sport reminiscent of Sunday’s is as vital for the crew mentally as it’s within the standings.

As a lot because it’s us telling different those that we will do it, I feel it’s extra so for ourselves, telling us that we do know methods to regroup,” Atkins stated. “We do know methods to come again, lock in on sure issues and get the job finished. So I feel it’s form of a morale and confidence builder for us.”

Right here’s what else to know in regards to the Mystics’ win:

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The Mystics had been coming off a irritating 80-75 loss to the Mercury by which they had been affected by bodily play and allowed Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith to mix for 53 factors.

Bouncing again from a loss in Phoenix, the place we didn’t play one of the best protection,” Cloud stated. “Having the ability to come dwelling, regroup and we’re drained — we had been on the highway for nearly every week … having to return again, regulate after which nonetheless come out and have that spotlight to element. [On Saturday], I promise you, after we all got here in, we had been like, ‘What’s the superb for lacking apply?’ As a result of we’re drained. However to return out to have that sort of defensive presence, we’re going to be actually good down the stretch if we will preserve this constant.”

The Mystics honored Minnesota’s Sylvia Fowles, who’s retiring after the season. The crew performed a video on the large display that featured a number of gamers and Thibault talking about their experiences with the 36-year-old star. Afterward, the group donated a motorbike to a toddler in Fowles’s identify and gave her a going-away present. She had 9 factors and 12 rebounds in 20 minutes.

“We’ve simply had an excellent relationship for years,” stated Thibault, who bought to know Fowles effectively by way of USA Basketball. “Simply one in all my favourite folks within the league — not favourite to play in opposition to however favourite folks. I gained’t miss teaching video games in opposition to her, however I’ll miss that competitiveness and I’ll miss simply seeing her frequently. She lights up a room when she’s round, and I feel that’s an incredible trait.”

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