“It felt like we were flat,” Mystics coach Mike Thibault said. “We haven’t had a great practice [Thursday]We played as we were training. It’s probably a bad first [game] I’d say we’ve had it for a long time where we haven’t been able to generate power.”
The Mystics – who played without top scorer Elena Delle Donne, who was resting for the last three games of the regular season – were unable to maintain the success they had with wins earlier this week over the Seattle Storm and the Las Vegas Ice.
Instead, Washington (20-13) — led by Misha Heinz Allen, who finished with 21 points, and Shakira Austin, who had 17 — were left gassed chasing the fast-paced skies (24-8).
The defending champion started quickly, taking a 29-15 lead after one quarter. Tybalt, unable to do anything but watch his team unable to keep up, spent most of the second half near the end of Washington’s bench, his hands in pockets, most of them speechless with what he saw playing in front of him.
While Chicago kept their comfortable cushion with a range of peripheral shooting, including nine three-pointers in 22 attempts, the Mystics couldn’t find any range and finished losing 8-for-24 from outside the arc.
The Mystics were unable to slow down the advance of league leaders Sky, who had a 23-point lead by the closing moments of the first half. Chicago used a 14-2 run to break the match open as the Mystics struggled to find any offensive tempo while Sky produced points at breakneck speed.
The Mystics were never able to cut Sky’s lead below two digits in the second half. The margin was over 20 pips most of that time.
“Give Chicago credit: They came ready to go, dropped three big goals, the ball moved, they had great speed in everything they did tonight, and they looked — for at least half a year — like a better team,” Thibault said.
Kahleah Copper trailed Chicago with 19 points to match 18 points from Allie Quigley and 11 from Azura Stevens and Rebekah Gardner. 2019 WNBA Finals MVP Courtney Vanderslott and Emma Messman with Mystics completed Sky’s balanced attack with 10 points each.
The Mystics, who entered Friday night’s game with No.4-ranked Seattle, will need to return in a quick order if they hope to catch up with the storm. Washington hosts the Los Angeles Sparks Sunday at the Entertainment and Sports Arena before finishing with back-to-back games against Indiana Fever, who has five wins and is last in the WNBA standings.
The Storm holds the regular season tiebreaker on the Mystics, whose loss to Chicago was only their second in seven games. But after suffering its first double-digit loss since June 23, when the Mystics lost 85-71 to a storm, Thibault will try to push his team to regroup with more work to be done before the playoffs arrive.
“I told [the team] Our preparation for Sunday begins at this moment, Thibault said. “…Mentally, they should go back to the scouts report and sleep and rest for a couple of nights and try to get ourselves ready to go.”
What kind of rebounding effort he gets from the Mystics now that the toughest period in the table is out of the way could determine how much momentum Washington can carry in the post-season.
Here’s what else you need to know about the Sufis’ loss:
The Mystics players said after Friday’s game that they would not talk about the loss but instead wanted to devote their time to talking about the 9-1/2-year prison sentence handed down in Russia to Phoenix Mercury star Britney Grenier.
Striker Alicia Clarke said: “It’s clear the decision has taken place [Thursday] It weighs heavily on all of our hearts [Griner’s] Sisters in this league, as friends… We will continue to call on President Biden to continue doing everything in his power to get her and Paul out. [Whelan] The house and all the other Americans unjustly held there. We miss her, and there aren’t even any words on how to describe it.
“Sports should be a safe place, no player should be used as a political pawn, and so we will continue to raise it, we will continue to speak on its behalf, we will go to continue to hope the administration and that they will bring her home quickly and that they will take her home safely.”