In the final tuneup before the WNBA season opener on Saturday, the Washington Mystics defeated the Connecticut Sun 83-64 on Monday night at Verizon Center. The Mystics were 1-1 in the preseason; dropping the first game on the road to the Chicago Sky, 73-68, on Saturday.
The decisive 19-point win over the Sun, who finished tied for first place in the Eastern Conference last season with a 21-13 record, provided a much needed boost of confidence for the Mystics, who were 6-28 last year.
Washington All-Star forward Crystal Langhorne is tired of dwelling on last year’s disappointing season, and ready to move on to the promise of a new year.
“The attitude this year is going to be totally different,” Langhorne said. “We’re all new, everyone’s excited, everyone’s ready to just let last year go, come here and do something different … and win a lot of games. It’s a totally different vibe.”
Langhorne turned in her usual dominant performance, with 18 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Monique Currie led all scorers with 19, and Natasha Lacy was stellar off the bench, with 12 points and six assists. Lacy filled in capably at point guard with Jasmine Thomas out with right knee tendinitis.
Matee Ajavon also sat out the game with a sore right knee. The status of Ajavon and Thomas for Saturday’s home opener against the Chicago Fire is unknown.
“It felt normal, it’s something I’m used to doing over my career,” Lacy said.
“It’s been up and down, but I felt comfortable [running the point]. I thought we had a good flow, we shot the ball very well, it just came easy to us. Even though it was a preseason game, we were able to execute a lot of our plays.”
Lacy is one of the players coach Trudi Lacey will be taking a long look at before making cuts to the final roster of 11 on Thursday.
“There’s one roster spot open,” Lacey said. “Right now, I’m focused on filling that last roster spot, and taking a look at the players we have competing for that spot. It’s highly competitive, and there’s no guaranteed starting spots, no guaranteed playing time, so you have to bring it every day.”
Although pleased with the win over the Sun, Lacey said the team still has a lot of work to do before Saturday’s season opener.
“It was a much better performance than we had in our first exhibition game. Although I thought we played hard in that game, our execution on the offensive end was not what we wanted.”
“Tonight, I thought we put together two halves where we were far more consistent on both sides of the ball. Overall. I felt like it was a good effort, but I think that we can play better.”