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Notes & Quotes: Mercury Defeat Mystics, 84-74

MYSTICS NOTES

  • The Mystics lost to the Phoenix Mercury 84-74, snapping their four-game winning streak and pushing their record this season to 10-6. The Mercury have now won three straight and nine of 11 games, and are a WNBA-best 13-5 this season.
  • The series between Washington and Phoenix is now tied at a game apiece. The series will conclude with the Mystics traveling to Phoenix on August 7.
  • Elena Delle Donne led the Mystics with 27 points and a season-high 13 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. Delle Donne has now scored at least 20 points in five of the last seven games, averaging 24.6 points per contest.
    • Delle Donne’s 20.5 points per game this season currently sits third in the WNBA, trailing only Breanna Stewart (22.6) and A’ja Wilson (20.7).
  • Tayler Hill tallied 11 points, her first double-digit scoring game since June 27th last season, when she had 14 points against the Seattle Storm.
  • The Mercury became the first team this season to hold the Mystics under 12 points off turnovers, as Washington was only able to force eight turnovers leading to six points.
  • The Mystics tallied 13 second chance points, the sixth time in the last seven games they have had at least 10 second chance points. Washington averaged 8.1 second chance points per game over the first nine games of the season, and has since averaged 13.9 over the last seven.
  • Brittney Griner finished with 24 points and seven rebounds and tied her season high in assists with four.
  • DeWanna Bonner scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Mercury.
  • Diana Taurasi dished a season-high nine assists this evening along with six rebounds and seven points.
  • Ranking second in the league in assists entering tonight, the Mercury dished 26 assists in the win, which ties for the team high this season.
  • The Mystics will host the New York Liberty on Thursday, July 5 at Capital One Arena.
  • Phoenix finished its road trip 3-1 and will travel home to face the Connecticut Sun on Thursday, July 5.

MYSTICS HEAD COACH MIKE THIBAULT

Overall thoughts on the game:

“Pretty good little run, but the little things kind of cost us tonight a little bit. We missed some layups tonight. We fouled them a couple more time than they fouled us. We made a couple mistakes, and they’re good enough and have great players that’ll make you pay for it if you make mistakes. I thought [Brittney] Griner was terrific. [DeWanna] Bonner was good, and I thought [Yvonne] Turner off the bench gave them a big lift tonight — she might have been kind of the difference in some ways. I like that we hung in, but we made too many mistakes.”

On offensive chances late in the game:

“I thought we had some chances. We had it cut to four and we ended up fouling; they made one, then it’s a five-point game; and then we came down and missed two possessions-in-a-row and now you’re out of time.”

On defense against Diana Taurasi:

“We’ve done it two games in a row. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Natasha [Cloud] are two of the better defenders in the league, and they had the assignment most of the night of guarding her. We tried to get the ball out of her hands as many times as we [could], and try to frustrate her, but they have some other weapons that just took over. I thought we did a good job on her and that’s to our players’ credit, but that was just a tough game to lose. We’ve been on a good roll and it’s a little bit deflating.”

MYSTICS FORWARD ELENA DELLE DONNE

On offensive chances late in the game:

“I felt like a couple times in the game there’d be a shift in momentum, and we’d be coming back like, ‘Alright, we’re going to take the lead’ and then just something little would happen and we’d have a mental lapse. [Phoenix] is just too good for that. You can’t make mistakes like that. You have to always get a great possession and give yourself a chance. They’re a great team. We were able to learn a lot and see that we can hang with them.”

On where the miscues came from:

“I think it was more miscues offensively. Just trying to attack and make reads that maybe we weren’t all on the same page about. They’re long, so they get a lot of deflections. They’re big and you have to kind of space them out and unfortunately we just weren’t able to make a bunch of good plays in a row.”

MYSTICS FORWARD TIERRA RUFFIN-PRATT

On the key down the stretch:

“I would just say our defense. We tried pressuring them and doubling down on Brittney Griner. They were hitting some shots, so I think that’s what it came down to. They were knocking down those open shots.”

On defense against Diana Taurasi, holding her to seven points:

“It’s just making every catch, every shot tough for her. Every time she touches the ball, you have to be in her face because anywhere she can pull it from, it can go in. Try not to let her get it started early. Put pressure on her from the beginning, because once she gets going, it’s hard for you to stop her. She’s one of those players you can’t really pinpoint one thing that she’s going to do, so you have to be there and try to do everything you can to not let her catch it or just have a hand in her face at all times.”

MYSTICS LEADERS:
Points: Elena Delle Donne – 27
Rebounds: 
Delle Donne – 13

Assists: Kristi Toliver – 4
Steals: 
LaToya Sanders – 2

MERCURY HEAD COACH SANDY BRONDELLO

On their win tonight:

“It was a great win. Just hopefully my two 4-men are OK (Sancho Lyttle and Camille Little) — are not seriously injured. To win on a back to back, a four-game road trip, that is not easy, especially against a team as good as that one. We are really focused. I thought we did a good job executing the scouts, so I am very happy with the win.”

On Diana Taurasi’s nice assists:

“She won the championship in 2014. She had the most assists of anyone in the WNBA. She is the most complete offensive player I have ever seen. She had a lot of pressure out there tonight but she certainly created offense for her teammates. When we needed to make a big shot or make the right decision, she always does. That is what makes her so special and what makes her the ‘G.O.A.T.’”

MERCURY GUARD DIANA TAURASI

On the road win:

“We seem to be playing well on the road. The road, I always say if you are a bad team, it lets you know you are a really bad team and if you are a good team, it lets you know you are a good team. The road has been good to us. We really lock in, we focus on what we want to do and today was a good example of that.”

On taking pride on other aspects of her game besides scoring:

“Yes you know when you shoot, people just think you shoot threes. You have to be well rounded. When it is not your night, you have to acknowledge that and make sure you can do other things on the court to help your team and today D.B [DeWanna Bonner] and B.G [Brittney Griner] were amazing, and I think Yvonne[Turner] gave us some amazing minutes off the bench. They did a good job. They pressured up the floor so I just had to find a different way to help the team and that was it today.”

On being able to sustain the Mystics run:

“A little mental fortitude is always nice especially on the road. But I think we just did not panic. We relied on our experience and we made some plays at the end.”

MERCURY FORWARD DeWANNA BONNER

On her mindset every game:

“I just go to every game and play the same. I want to be aggressive no matter who is guarding me, what the situation is. When the ball is in my hands, I am looking to score. These guys cannot do it all by themselves every night so I come in and get in where I fit in.”

On her three point shot improving:

“I pretty much shoot every day after practice. I do what I need to do. Some days, my three point game is on some days it is not.”