Mystics dominate San Antonio, 86-64


Tierra Ruffin -Pratt separates Shameka Christon from the ball Tuesday night at Verizon Center as the Mystics execute a back-to-back sweep of the Silver Stars. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)
July 16, 2013

Washington Mystics’ Coach Mike Thibault couldn’t have drawn things up much better for his team’s 86-64 win over San Antonio on Tuesday night at Verizon Center.

“It was just one of those good nights,” Thibault said of his team’s second straight win over the Silver Stars, and first at home since 2006.

“It’s nice to look at a box score where you have 42 points from your bench, 44 from your starters. You have double the amount of assists you do turnovers,” Thibault said. “. . . We won rebounding, we won free throws, we won turnovers.”

Washington’s bench was crucial.

After the teams exchanged baskets for much of the first quarter, rookies Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Nadirah McKenith came on to score six points in the quarter’s waning moments, giving the Mystics a 28-22 lead after a quarter.

The teams combined for just 27 points in a turnover-plagued second quarter, and the Mystics (8-7) took a five-point lead into intermission.

San Antonio (4-11) never got closer than that as McKenith, Emma Meesseman, and Ruffin-Pratt continued to score and the Mystics defense locked down.

After Danielle Adams converted a layup with 3 minutes 23 seconds to go in the third, San Antonio didn’t score again for more than nine minutes of game time. By the time Shameka Christon dropped a streak-busting three-pointer, the lead was 22.

“Coach stresses defense all the time in practice, so that was just us going out there, locking down and defending and having pride,” said McKenith, who scored a career-high 11 points in 16 minutes. “Taking pride in our defense, I think that was key.”

Every Mystic on the roster saw time and scored by game’s end. Newly acquired center Quanitra Hollingsworth, who joined the Mystics on July 6 after spending time with the Turkish national team, registered her first Washington bucket in the fourth.

McKenith and Ruffin-Pratt (13) paced an evenly spread Mystics scoring effort; six players scored eight points or more. Crystal Langhorne chipped in 13 and nine rebounds, and Meesseman tallied eight points and five boards off the bench.

“We’ve got a well-balanced team. Some teams only have one through seven, one through eight, but we’ve got all eleven across the board,” said point guard Ivory Latta, who scored nine points and dished four assists despite taking an elbow to her bottom lip.

“Our bench has been doing a great job. This is the time where everyone needs to start peaking.”

The timing couldn’t be better — the Mystics head to Indiana on Friday for the first of two games against the defending champions.

“I’m just happy that we’ve gotten everyone involved and we’re getting better every day,” Thibault said. “It’s going to get a little harder starting this weekend — we’re going to play some pretty good teams — but so far so good.”

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