Mystics opens crucial period of WNBA table with victory over Dallas


ARLINGTON, Texas – The end of the longest break of the season for the Washington Mystics coincided with the start of perhaps the most important period of the year.

With six days between matches, coach Mike Thibault gave the team a weekend before two days of training. Thursday’s 87-77 win over Dallas kicked off a four-game streak in six days that includes hosting a back-to-back game this weekend against Seattle, a pair of games with big playoff effects. This was followed by a home game against Commissioner’s Cup champions Las Vegas before a trip to first-placed Chicago, the WNBA title holders, three days later.

The Mystics (18-11), who played without Elena Delle Donne (a night scheduled for vacation), got off to a good start at College Park Center. The win over the wingers (12-16) held their contract with Seattle, who lost in Connecticut, for fourth place in the league.

“It’s a big weekend, obviously,” Tebow said. “A little preparation time for either team. . . . we played [the Storm] A month ago, and they haven’t changed much other than [adding former Mystic] Tina [Charles]. We did not encounter them with it. . . . It’s kind of just going out and playing.”

One of the team’s most outspoken captains, Natasha Cloud Point guard, said nothing needed to be said when entering this crucial stretch.

“Not a message,” she said before Thursday’s game. “We all know it’s one day at a time, one match at a time.

“We just need to control our own destiny. That means being a road warrior every now and then, looking forward to the weekend, being able to play back-to-back and being productive and consistent in those two games as well. So we’re in a sprawl right now.” .. We are 10 toes with where we are at present, and we are not looking much forward because we can finish this season strong and move ourselves up in the standings as well.”

The Mystics played the most games in the league entering an All-Star Game this month, making the break even more significant in the postseason. The schedule was a big reason Tybalt gave his team extra rest.

“We love being around each other, but… we need some space too,” Cloud said with a laugh. “And just reset time, be with our families and I really love to sit for a minute and be where we are. Because I think a lot of times people forget we go constantly. I literally come home, spend a day with my dogs, and then go back on the road again.”

Here’s what else you need to know about winning Mystics:

Washington had one of its better halves this season, leading 56-36 in the first half. The Mystics were never late after falling 4-2.

Myisha Hines-Allen moved into the starting line-up in the absence of Delle Donne and opened the match with a steal and layup. A few minutes later, she crossed over her defender and then hit a three-pointer to put the Mystics ahead 11-6. Hines-Allen finished with 14 points.

“That was the thing, try to be aggressive from the start,” Heinz Allen said. “But for the most part, for us to start this run, [it] He started on the defensive end. We managed to get our hands on things and ran out of transition, then our seat came and did the exact same things. This is how we were able to maintain the entire momentum.”

The Wings made a push in the fourth quarter to close in on a nine, but Cloud (14 points, seven assists) buried two consecutive players to widen the lead to 78-64. Five Mystics players finished in doubles, including Ariel Atkins (14), Shakira Austin (12) and Alisha Clarke (13).

The Mystics got a big boost off the bench late in the first quarter, pulling a 9-0 lead to lead 28-14. Chaturi Walker-Kimbra continued to play well, and the team’s efforts helped earn her endorsement as this year’s sixth woman in the league. Tiana Hawkins, who was back in the rotation, came out strong with seven points. The Mystics seat outperformed Wings ’20-5.

“Just get ready,” Hawkins said. “Before every game, tell the bench crowd to be ready when your name is called. … You have a replacement coming, so there is no reason to leave anything else on the field.”

Thibault has been appointed as an assistant to the US women’s national team that will play in this year’s FIBA ​​World Cup. He was joined by Cara Lawson (Duke) and Johnny Taylor (Texas A&M) under coach Sheryl Reeve (Minnesota Links). Thibault has been involved in American basketball, on and off with both men and women, since 1993 and was an assistant on the 2008 women’s Olympic team that won the gold medal.

It’s always fun doing USA, and it’s always an honor,” said Tybalt. “I’ve been doing it since, like, 1993. It tells you how old I am. . . . It’s always rewarding and it’s not like representing your country on the international stage and playing the best player in the world.”

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