News & Quotes: Mystics Top Lynx

Game Notes

  • The Washington Mystics (4-0) defeated the defending-champion Minnesota Lynx (2-2), 90-78, Sunday afternoon at Capital One Arena, marking the first time in Mystics history the team has started a season 4-0.
  • The Mystics’ bench scored 58 of the team’s 90 points, a season high, led by a pair of rookies: forward Myisha Hines-Allen (15 points) and guard Ariel Atkins (14 points). Hines-Allen also grabbed 13 rebounds, registering her first-career double-double. Atkins scored 11 of her 14 points in the second quarter, setting a Mystics season high for points in a quarter.
  • Kristi Toliver led Washington with a season-high 19 points, shooting 6-12 (.500) from the field and 5-8 (.625) from 3-point range. Toliver has scored in double figures in three of the team’s four games.
  • After being outscored, 26-11, in the first quarter, Washington responded, outscoring Minnesota, 35-13, in the second. The +22 margin in the second quarter is tied for the second-largest single-quarter margin in Mystics history, behind a +24 second quarter on 6/25/17 at Chicago.
  • The Mystics bench accounted for 32 of the team’s 35 second-quarter points, including Atkins’ 11 and nine from second-year guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough. The Mystics shot 14-21 (.667) from the field and 6-10 (.600) from 3-point range in the second quarter.
  • Today’s game marked the first time in Mystics history that the team was outscored by 15+ points and, in the very next quarter, outscored their opponent by 15+. (Per Elias)
  • The Mystics set season highs in both 3-pointers made (11) and 3-pointers attempted (31).
  • Washington outrebounded Minnesota, 36-26, including a season-high nine offensive boards. The Mystics have outrebounded their opponent in three of their four games this season.
  • Washington’s 19 assists fell short of Minnesota’s 22, but set a season high, topping the 18 assists recorded against the Fever on 5/20.
  • The Mystics begin a three-game West Coast road trip Tuesday, May 29, taking on the Seattle Storm at KeyArena at 10 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on Twitter.

MYSTICS HEAD COACH MIKE THIBAULT

On the game:

“Unbelievable win considering the start, who we were playing and I cannot even say enough about our young players and our bench, just the contributions we had. They played like veterans and that was as good as we played all year and probably as good as we have played in a long time just as a group for nine or 10 people. We will take it. It is a good way to get ready to go on a road trip this week.”

On the second quarter run and the three pointers falling:

“It was a focus of us in training camp that we had to take a fair amount of those shots to space the floor. It got us some drives later on because when you start making those now the inside opens up. At the end Tash [Natasha Cloud] was able to drive, Kristi was able to drive because they were afraid to help because we are knocking down threes. The second quarter run shocked me a little bit that it just kept going. Sometime you go on those runs and they are 10 points or 12 points, it just kept going. When you look down it was 35 points or whatever it was for the quarter. Given that you can only score 11 in the first 10 minutes, that is quite a turnaround.”

On what it means to get off to the franchise’s best start:

“It does because it such a short season. Those are in the bank. At the end of the year, they do not care when you got them, how you got them, it is just that you got them so 4-0 gives us the start that most people would die for, so we will take it.”

MYSTICS GUARD KRISTI TOLIVER

On the team’s youth:

“I feel their energy. The youth is real here [and] it’s just a lot of fun. That’s part of why I’m here, because of my age and my experience. It’s fun when we’re just getting great effort plays from all over the place. It’s fun when we’re getting stops and we’re getting our assignments on the defensive end — that’s when basketball is fun. Then on the offensive end, you can just play and make plays and that’s what we do best.”

On how much confidence they receive when the younger players come in and make plays:

“For those guys to come in and play so well and so confident, they’ve done that since the season started. They’re only going to continue to learn and grow throughout the course of this season. They’re getting great experience against the defending champions. You have to continue to learn through every experience, every practice moving forward.”

On the Mystics’ three-point shooting tonight:

“That’s our identity. We are a three-point shooting team. We’re going to make it hard for people to guard us because of the way we shoot the basketball and then also get to the rim. We can be very unpredictable on the offensive end – and you have to be in order to be successful in this league. We have a lot of players that can do multiple things.”

MYSTICS FORWARD MYISHA HINES-ALLEN

On how she played:

“It felt good to play how I normally play in a sense because in college I was so used to getting a double-double so it was like, when is it going to happen because I am so used to it, but this was a great game to come out and do it in.” 

On going up against Sylvia Fowles:

“It was hard. She is the reigning MVP, so it was just like just focus on her. Do not worry about anything else. Just focus on her, keep finding the body, put on a body on her because she is just so big, so strong. She is a great player and I just tried to find her every time. In the beginning of the game, I was in awe, not even going to lie. I was like ‘wow’ They are really here. I am really about to play against them. It was kind of weird but then once you get in the flow of the game, it is like they are human, you are playing a basketball game, you are playing the sport you love.”

On where her fearlessness comes from:

“I just like to compete so that is just me. I am just a competitor.”

MYSTICS LEADERS:
Points
: Kristi Toliver – 19
Rebounds: Myisha Hines-Allen – 13

Assists: Natasha Cloud – 8
Steals:
Toliver – 2

LYNX HEAD COACH CHERYL REEVE

On what allowed the Mystics back into the game:

“Their second team came in.”

On what the Mystics’ second team was able to do:

“Score. Fourteen [Ariel Atkins’ points], 14 [Natasha Cloud’s points], 15 [Shatori Walker-Kimbough’s points]. Rebound.”

On what led to the Mystics offensive rebounds and second chance points:

“They got the ball. We didn’t block them out and they got the ball and created extra possessions for them.”

LYNX CENTER SYLVIA FOWLES

On her game:

“I did most of my work early, and then they started throwing two-to-three people at me after that. I got some good looks early on, but after that it was pretty hard.”

On the Mystics’ offensive rebounds:

“They just came out and were aggressive. They sent their guards to the rim, as well, to rebound. That also hurt us because their guards got in there to rebound, it wasn’t just their bigs. They capitalized on that tonight.”

On the Mystics’ bench:

“Their bench was amazing. They came in and gave them that run that they needed. They brought that energy, they came out [and] they knocked down shots, they got rebounds, they ran the floor. Their bench was who got them back in the game.”

LYNX GUARD LINDSAY WHALEN

On what allowed the Mystics back into the game:

“They got a couple offensive rebounds and they started pushing the tempo. I thought, defensively, we weren’t getting stops. Anytime you let your guard down, relax, whatever you want to call it, they’re a good enough team that they’re going to make you pay.”

On the Mystics’ bench:

“They came in and played really well. They were very aggressive, they hit the offensive rebounds. [Ariel] Atkins was able to hit some threes in the first half. Their second group, the bench that came in, really got them going.”

LYNX LEADERS:
Points:
Maya Moore – 18
Rebounds:
Sylvia Fowles – 8

Assists: Three players – 4
Steals:
Tanisha Wright – 3