No one needed to be consulted to undertand the magnitude of winning this game, to keep pace in the ultra tight Eastern Conference playoff race. After dropping two heart breakers to Eastern Conference foes Chicago Sky to fall to fourth place in the standings, the sense of urgency to right the ship, especially with an 11 day Western Conference road trip coming after, was felt as soon as you walked through Verizon Center doors. The Mystics handled business. Mystics blur of a point guard Ivory Latta would lead the way with a game high 24 points (6-11 FG/ 3-5 3FG/ 9-9 FT) , 5 rebounds 3 steals and ZERO turnovers in defeating the Phoenix Mercury 71-63. With veteran point guard Kara Lawson out due to a back injury, Latta knew she would have to be step up and that's exactly what she did. Also out with injury was back-up guard Taylor Hill. Latta was joined by three other Mystics who produced at a high level on both ends. The all star frontcourt of Emma Meesseman (14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks) and Stefanie Dolson (10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks) outplayed the dangerous Phoenix Mercury frontcourt of Brittney Griner (12 points, 9 rebounds) and Candice Dupree (7 points, 2 rebounds). If it wasn't for the outstanding play of reserve guard Leilani Mitchell who finished with 16 points (6-13 FG/ 4-8 3FG) and 3 assist, the game wouldn't have been close. Bria Hartley contributed 9 points off the bench despite battling injuries all season long. The Mystics are now 16-11, 3 games behind East leading New York Liberty and 4 1/2 games ahead of fifth place Connecticut Sun and last place Atlanta Dream with three road games in five days coming up against Seattle, Phoenix and Los Angeles. Only the top four seeds qualify for the playoffs. " That was one of our best defensive performances....we will let Griner get the dunk as long as we get the win" - Mystics Head Coach Mike Thibault said. To survive this upcoming road trip, the Mystics will need health to be on their side and that same level of intensity on defense.
Mystics all star center blocks fellow all star center for the Mercury Brittney Griner
Mercury reserve guard Leilani Mitchell was huge off the bench with 16 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assist
Mercury center Brittney Griner looks to attack the basket against Mystics center Stefanie Dolson
Mystics swarming defense was key to their much needed 71-63 victory