Thibault coached 10 seasons for the Connecticut Sun before coming to Washington, where he has already guided the Mystics (6-6) to more victories than they had last season. Washington had just 11 wins the past two years combined.
Michelle Snow added eight points and 13 rebounds, and Ivory Latta scored 11 points for the Mystics, who won their second straight game after dropping five in a row. Washington built an 18-point lead in the first half before holding on late. The Mystics shot a season-low 32.7 percent, but got key baskets late after their advantage was trimmed to one.
Thibault owns a career coaching record of 212-140, one more win than Van Chancellor, who won the league’s first four championships during 10 seasons leading the Houston Comets. Thibault’s Connecticut teams made the playoffs eight out of 10 seasons and lost twice in the WNBA Finals.
Shekinna Stricklen scored 20 points off the bench for the Storm (5-7), who have lost four of five. The Storm entered the game with the second-worst offense in the league (71.8 points per game) and didn’t help themselves by turning the ball over a season-high 26 times. The Storm committed 11 turnovers during the first quarter and matched their season average of 14 early in the second.
Stricklen almost brought them back from a 35-21 halftime deficit single-handedly. Her third 3-pointer of the fourth quarter brought Seattle within 60-58 with just over 2 minutes left. But Seattle couldn’t capitalize on a handful of opportunities to tie or take the lead. Tina Thompson and Stricklen missed three game-tying attempts in the final seconds.
Quanitra Hollingsworth joined the Mystics on Saturday following her commitment with the Turkish national team. Hollingsworth was acquired in a trade with the New York Liberty for the 25th pick in this year’s WNBA draft. Washington released veteran forward Jessica Moore, who played in two games this season.