The Washington Mystics made one field goal in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s game against the Tulsa Shock. Good thing they did just about everything else right beforehand, or else they may not have been able to withstand a furious rally and escape with an 82-77 victory in front of a boisterous 8,616 at Verizon Center.
After building a 15-point lead to start the final period, the Mystics unraveled and the margin shrunk to 70-69 with 2 minutes 20 seconds to play. Washington made four straight foul shots, and after Skylar Diggins scored on a floater to get the Shock within three, backup guard Kara Lawson sank a short jumper for the Mystics’ lone basket of the quarter.
Tulsa forward Glory Johnson converted a driving layup with 17 seconds left in regulation to pull the Shock within two, but that was as close as the team with the WNBA’s worst record would come in the final minute. Small forward Monique Currie sealed the Mystics’ third straight win and fifth in six games by making four straight foul shots to finish with 16 points, all from the free throw line.
“I guess our shots weren’t going in, obviously,” said Currie, who set a league record for most points in a game without making a field goal. “But it was the defense that kept us in the game. We were able to get stops at the right time, and I think that’s ultimately why we won the game.”
Ivory Latta led the Mystics (12-13) with 17 points and four assists without a turnover. Washington’s lone representative in last weekend’s All-Star Game made 4 of 9 three-pointers against her former team, with whom she played for three seasons before coming to the District as a free agent.
Guard Bria Hartley (11 points) was the only other Washington player to score in double figures, although she missed 9 of 12 field goals and all three of her three-point attempts. The No. 7 overall selection in the WNBA draft did make a pair of clutch foul shots with 1:11 to play that grew the lead to two possessions after center Kia Vaughn’s block on Johnson.
The Mystics went 26 for 32 (81 percent) from the foul line, helping to offset 39 percent shooting overall . Washington completed a two-game season sweep of the Shock (8-17) and moved into second place in the Eastern Conference.
“Survive and move on,” Coach Mike Thibault said. “I mean the good part is in 10 days in the standings nobody will remember how or why, just somehow we survived. I don’t know if I’ve been in a game where you won and you only had one field goal in a quarter, the fourth quarter.”
That statistical oddity has occurred four times in WNBA history, including twice this season.
Diggins scored a game-high 19 points but missed 10 of 19 from the field and both of her three-point attempts. The WNBA’s second-leading scorer has shot 16 for 39 (41 percent) this season against Washington, which used Hartley to defend the No. 3 overall pick in last year’s draft.
The Mystics also held heralded rookie Odyssey Sims to 14 points on 6-for-17 shooting.
“At least we got some pressure possessions,” Lawson said. “That’s always good in terms of having to get a stop, having to execute a play. That part of it, the last two minutes when we needed to get stops, we needed to get scores, we got them, but we just kind of let off the gas a little bit I think in the fourth quarter.”