Mystics 82 - Shock 77
The Washington Mystics got their second win of the season over the Tulsa Shock tonight, 82-77, but it was not without a few bumps.
Veteran point guard Ivory Latta led the Mystics once again with 17 points and four assists. But, it was forward Monique Currie, playing with a bruised right thumb suffered in Wednesday’s game, and her nerves of steel that iced the game in the closing seconds. Currie made six crucial free throws down the stretch, as part of the 16 points she recorded, all of which were from the free throw line. Guard Bria Hartley added 11 points.
Tulsa had four players in double-figures. Tulsa guard Skylar Diggins led the Shock with 19 points and five assists, and forward Glory Johnson added 15 points of her own.
The Mystics closed the night shooting 39.1%, but by holding the Shock to 35.7% shooting, it was enough.
Washington shot the ball very well to begin the game, making 10 of 19 shots including four of eight from beyond the arc, and the Mystics closed the quarter with a comfortable 28-22 lead.
Washington further padded their lead in the second and third quarter, outscoring the Shock 40 to 31 in the two quarters. Latta led the charge in the third quarter with six points and two assists, and D.C. went into the final period with a 68-53 lead, seemingly en route to another double-digit victory over the Shock.
But, something happened in the fourth. The Mystics went cold and were 0-12 in the final quarter until guard Kara Lawson made a baseline jumper with 45 seconds left in the game to recorded Washington’s first field goal of the quarter. The Shock slowly chipped away at the 15-point Mystics lead and was within one with 1:39 left in the game. But, the Mystics played solid defense and did not allow Tulsa to take advantage of Washington’s shooting woes in the fourth.
Two big free throws from center Kia Vaughn late in the fourth pushed the lead to three, and on the following possession, Vaughn recorded a huge block to get the Mystics two more free throws and prevented the Shock from getting any closer. From then on, it was a gutsy display of Currie’s clutch free throw abilities under pressure. She was 7-8 from the line in the fourth and was 6-6 in the final 13.8 seconds to close out the game. Asked about the team’s struggles in the fourth leading up to the victory, both Latta and Currie said that “a win’s a win,” understanding the tight race that is ongoing in the Eastern conference.
The Mystics (12-13) have now won three straight and five of their last six games and will be continuing their postseason push against the Atlanta Dream Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Verizon Center.