The Mystics already know what it’s like to beat the New York Liberty. They defeated the Liberty 70-53 in their final game before the Olympic break. That win sent the team into a four-week hiatus with an optimistic belief that the second half of the season would be different, after a 4-14 start.
It didn’t work out that way. With just one win in the second half of the season, against the Chicago Sky, the Mystics are entering this final week battling injuries to their best player and leading scorer, Crystal Langhorne.
On Sunday, the Mystics will take on the Liberty at Verizon Center as they enter the final week of the season on pace for the league’s worst record. But Monique Currie said that no one should expect the home team to just roll over for anyone.
“We’re not going to give anybody a free pass into the playoffs,” Currie said. “New York will have to work when they come in here on Sunday. We’re going to make it as difficult as possible for them to get where they want to go.”
The Liberty will be coming into Washington needing a victory. Seven of the eight playoff spots have been claimed, with only the final team in the Eastern Conference left to be determined. New York (13-17) is battling Chicago (12-18) for that last playoff berth.
It will be that much tougher for the Mystics if Langhorne is unable to play on Sunday. She has been nursing a sore left knee in the past few games, and left Friday’s game against the Atlanta Dream with a sore left foot.
“Crystal is our leader and she contributes so much on the court,” Monique Currie said. “But we also have other players who can come in and pick up the slack and I think later on this season, it’s really giving other people an opportunity to show what they can do.”
Noelle Quinn missed Friday’s game with a shoulder injury. Coach Trudi Lacey acknowledged that several players have been battling some nagging injuries in this final stretch of the season but, looking on the bright side, gives other players a chance to step in and get some playing time and some experience.
“Everyone is up for the challenge, everyone is working hard,” Currie said. “We came up short again [Friday against Atlanta] which is frustrating, but all we can do is continue to work, continue to compete and play this out until the end.”