The Washington Mystics have had quite the opening to the 2019 season. Connecticut crushed D.C. in the season opener 84-69. But if you look at the rest of the Mystics’ games thus far, it seems as though the first game against the Sun didn’t even happen.
Dubbed the favorites to win the title preseason, the Mystics set out to prove that they belong in the finals again after getting swept by the Seattle Storm in 2018. Since the Connecticut loss, this team looks much more focused and they look like they aren’t playing around. They shellacked the Atlanta Dream 95-75. Then, the Stics dropped a hundo on the Chicago Sky on the way to a 18 point win.
The greatest things can happen from defeat. Just maybe, the beatdown to open 2019 in addition to Seattle’s sweep will push this team to new heights in the early part of this season. The performances they displayed against Atlanta and Chicago gives all their believers something to point to. One of those believers, Head Coach Mike Thibault, clearly enjoyed his team’s performance on Wednesday night against the Sky.
“You know, obviously, it was entertaining, and we played pretty well. We were passing the ball terrific, we were shooting the ball well. I thought that we had some lapses of time. Defensively, they are a good shooting team and we have a few lapses where we allowed them to shoot 50%. But you know we got a lot of things we talked about – getting extra possessions on offensive rebounds, taking care of the ball for about three-and-a-half quarters we did a really good job,” Thibault said. “So, you know, I’m happy. We had five people in double figures again, everybody is involved. On offense our bench scored 43 points. That’s a lot of good stuff so now we just turn around and get ready for the next one.”
First round draft pick Kiara Leslie has not been on the floor, but DC has been almost at full strength so far this month. In her first action of the year, Aerial Powers certainly helped the team and she knew it too.
“I felt amazing. It felt good to knock down my first shot. Of course going back in there I was a little anxious, anxious to get back out there and to do well. I know I had a few turnovers and all in all my hip feels good and our team did good so I’m happy,” said Powers after tallying 9 points, 3 rebounds, and an assist.
Coach Thibault felt the same way, “I think she was great. She didn’t let any of that stay in her head. She played physically. I kind of put a little bit of a minute limit in my own head. But she was kind of unrestrictive and just tried to get her involved in the offense. So, I thought she did a good job.”
The Mystics played great defense in addition to their blistering offense. They completely shut down Allie Quigley as the Chicago sharpshooter did not score. Every Sky and Dream player (except Atlanta center Marie Gulich) finished with a negative plus-minus against Washington.
It’s early in the season and DC has a long, tough road to navigate. But the Mystics look like a real contender to make it back to where they were 10 months ago: the Finals. Run it back is the slogan for this season and the team is doing everything to do just that in 2019.