Mystics 77, Sky 84

NOTEWORTHY:

  • The Washington Mystics lost their first regular season home opener for the first time since 2007 when they lost to the Connecticut Sun
  • The Sky led the entire game, up by as much as 18 points heading into halftime
  • Mystics forward Marissa Coleman was scoreless in the first half but scored seven points in the third quarter to bring the Mystics within nine points heading into the fourth
  • The closest lead for the Mystics came with 3:18 left in the game when the score was 75-72
  • Mystics guard Matee Ajavon led all scorers with 24 points, shooting 10-for-17 from the field
  • Four Mystics players scored in double figures (Ajavon-24, Kelly Miller-15, Crystal Langhorne-14, and Marissa Coleman-13)
  • The Sky were led by center Sylvia Fowles who scored 23 points and pulled down three rebounds. Guard Epiphanny Prince added 20 points as the Sky won their second game in a row on back-to-back days

    WASHINGTON MYSTICS HEAD COACH TRUDI LACEY:

    Overall thoughts on the game:
    “Tough lost. We came out not ready to play defensively. We gave up far too many threes and just didn’t do a really good job. We didn’t execute in the first half. We came out in the second half and picked up defensively and made a comeback. At the end, we understated time and score. Not really good decision in the end. I thought we played with a lot of heart in the second half. As the team grows and gets better, I think we will be able to execute down the stretch.”

    How hard is it to defend against a team that shoots over 60% for almost the whole game?
    “It speaks to our lack of defensive focus. We have to be able to understand and execute our defensive skims; understand personnel. We didn’t do a good job of middle penetration. Again we have to continue to work on defensive skims and continue to work on creating defensive mind set.”

    On the teamwork of Kelly Miller and Crystal Langhorne:
    “I am calling them the twins now. They’re learning each other. They have a young team, a lot of new players. That’s not an excuse but every day we are learning and we’re getting better. As the season goes we will continue to get better.”

    WASHINGTON MYSTICS FORWARD CRYSTAL LANGHORNE

    On the team’s comeback in the second half:
    “We kept fighting. On defense, we started getting stops, pushing the ball, started being aggressive which really got us back into the game. When we play we play very well and we just have to do that for 40 minutes, not just in the third quarter or some of the fourth.”

    On getting ready for Connecticut:
    “Monday we will refocus. We played Connecticut already, so we are going to be ready to win. It will be our second home game and we are not going to disappoint our crowd again.”

    WASHINGTON MYSTICS FORWARD MARISSA COLEMAN

    On the team’s loss:
    “Most important factor was defense. We needed to pick up on defense. We let them get a lot of open threes in and some easy baskets so definitely I think defense is the reason why we didn’t play this game out.”

    Mystics at a glance:
    Points: Matee Ajavon -24
    Rebounds: Marissa Coleman -6
    Assists: Matee Ajavon, Kelly Miller-4
    Steals: Ajavon, Nicky Anosike -2

    CHICAGO SKY HEAD COACH POKEY CHATMAN

    Thoughts on the game:
    “We had an emotional high for us coming off a nice home-opener win, also some of the momentum that we didn’t have the last time we were here. We had something to prove to ourselves and it worked in our favor. I went in and told them at half time that they’re at home. They’re going to show some resolve. There was a run. The best part for me is that it’s nice to be able to have teaching moments when you win the basketball game. It shows a little bit of resolve and not a total meltdown to be able to get out here and get a nice win. “

    On keeping the lead late in the game:
    “Our three primary ball handlers played 60 minutes and didn’t turn it over. When you’re playing against an athletic team, it’s nice to have your primary ball handlers take care of the ball. At the end of the day we played to our strengths.”

    On Epiphanny Prince this season:
    “She’s a scorer. That’s her natural position. We don’t like to handcuff her in the point a lot so she’s really starting to spread her wings. She’s going to be a smart player. Tonight she had a little bit more freedom with the outside shots, but the expectation is that she’s going to be a leader on both ends of the court not just offensively.”

    CHICAGO SKY GUARD EPIPHANNY PRINCE

    Thoughts on the game:
    “I think we played well and stayed together. We kept it together. I think we executed well. We definitely made the stops we needed to win the game in the end.”

    On momentum shifts between first and second halves:
    “We really moved in and got into the open shots in the first half which allowed us to pull ahead. We were really knocking them down and getting the shots that we need. In the second half we didn’t really get as many looks and shots as the first half but I feel that we really executed as a team. They started to get some big shots come second half but I think we executed the game well.”

    Emotions during the last minute of the game:
    “Our plan was just to make sure if they get a stop to not make any sudden fouls and stay smooth. If they put us up on the line, we just needed to sink those free throws. “ CHICAGO SKY CENTER SYLVIA FOWLES

    Thoughts on the game:
    “I think we had a good start. I felt like I had to redeem myself from our preseason game, I didn’t quite execute in that game the way I had hoped. But I felt like with Washington being the team that they are, they always come back second half and showed a lot of heart today.”

    On momentum shifts between first and second halves:
    “I don’t think that we got too particularly relaxed but we know Washington didn’t have a good half but we knew they were going to fight back. We knew we needed to get it done on the court second half.”

    On playing post against Langhorne and Anosike:
    “Langhorne is definitely a great post player, and with Anosike it makes you crazy. Those are the two heads of the snake right there. With those two you just need to pick your poison because you know that they are going to get points. You just need to focus on limiting them through the game.”

    Sky at a glance:
    Points: Sylvia Fowles - 23
    Rebounds: Michelle Snow - 8
    Assists: Dominique Canty - 6
    Steals: Dominique Canty , Courtney Vandersloot- 2