In what was easily their signature win of the season, the Washington Mystics outlasted the Connecticut Sun in a long, hard-fought, back-and-forth, double-overtime battle Friday night.
The star of the game was Crystal Langhorne, who set a new career high in both points (22) and rebounds (16), and hit the game-winning shot with 9.9 seconds left in the second extra session.
But the Mystics got contributions from virtually everybody. Alana Beard had a game-high 26 points and hit countless big shots in the fourth quarter and two overtimes. Lindsey Harding logged over 46 minutes at point guard. Monique Currie had a key block towards the end of regulation. Nakia Sanford played 37 minutes and grabbed eight rebounds off the bench.
“This is what it’s all about,” coach Julie Plank said. “Every game matters. I give our team a lot of credit. We came back, we hit big shots, we had a lot of stops…and I really thought we did a lot of good things.
The win was important for so many reasons. The Mystics moved into a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference instead of dropping into fifth. They now own the tie-breaker over Connecticut. They finally played well late in a game.
And it was mentally uplifting. Not only would it have been crushing to lose a game they poured everything in to, it would have been their fourth loss in five games and, with a West Coast trip looming next week, could have sent them in a tailspin.
“This is what we needed,” Beard said. “We needed a game like this to know that we could finish because that’s been the story, we never could close out games. But we kept fighting and that’s huge for us, especially at this time [in the season].”