Silver Stars-Mystics Preview
An aggressive start last weekend helped the Washington Mystics produce their highest-scoring game of the season and win for the first time in two weeks.
In seeking their first back-to-back victories, the Mystics might try a similar strategy Friday against a San Antonio Silver Stars team that could be fatigued after an impressive comeback one night earlier.
The surging Silver Stars (9-5) arrive in the nation's capital after roaring back from an 18-point deficit to beat Indiana 88-72 on Thursday for their fifth straight win and seventh in eight games. Becky Hammon finished with 19 points, reserve Jia Perkins scored 17 and Sophia Young added 15 for San Antonio, which outscored the Fever 63-29 over the final 21:13.
"A little bit of grind and more assertiveness in the second half is what helped,'' said Hammon, who is averaging 21.3 points in her last three games - 4.9 above her season average.
The Silver Stars, who have averaged 89.6 points during their winning streak, now hope to avoid a letdown against a Mystics team that has been off since snapping a five-game skid with Sunday's 90-77 win over Phoenix.
A sluggish offense has been one of the reasons Washington (3-10) is in last place in the Eastern Conference, but it had no trouble piling up points against the Mercury's susceptible defense.
The Mystics shot 64.7 percent in the first quarter to build a 27-18 lead, marking the first time all season they led entering the second. Crystal Langhorne had a team-high 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting and Noelle Quinn scored a season-high 18 for Washington, which had averaged 15.6 first-quarter points during its skid.
The Mystics came in averaging a league-worst 67.7 points, and scored a season-best 50 by halftime
"First quarters and third quarters have been our Achilles heel and the starters did a great job,'' Quinn said. "We didn't have to play from behind, we didn't dig ourselves into a hole. We kept our lead, kept our aggression and just played together."
Quinn came off the bench for the first time all year and looked more comfortable in her reserve role. She had totaled one point in her previous two games.
"Anytime you win it's very calming,'' said Langhorne, who averages team highs of 16.5 points and 6.9 rebounds. "When you keep losing, it's stressful. To get this win, it's a good feeling.''
The Mystics were swept in last season's two-game series with the Silver Stars, with Hammon averaging 18.5 points.