BY CAPRICIA ALSTON
Coming off of a big win on Friday, the Mystics were just one game away from doing something they’ve yet to do under coach Mike Thibault—advance to the finals.
This wasn’t achieved Sunday at the Verizon Center. Washington lost to the New York Liberty 86-68 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series.
Tayler Hill had another strong performance off the bench, leading the Mystics in scoring with 19 points. Ivory Latta scored 15 points, but the team was in trouble from tip-off.
Early in the second quarter, the Mystics were shooting only 4-of-18 and the Liberty had already taken a 15-point lead—the largest lead they’ve had in the five times the two teams have met.
The Mystics also had difficulty converting points in the paint and gave away 14 turnovers, which resulted in 16 points.
In the 4th quarter, the Liberty took a 26-point lead and the energy appeared to be sucked out of the fans and the players.
“The excitement of closing out a series, you try to explain to players without psyching them out,” coach Thibault said. “Closing out a series is really hard. At any level at any sport, it’s just difficult. Were playing a team that’s experienced and desperate and Tina Charles, who’s been an MVP, put them on their back for a stretch.”
Charles finished up with 22 points and former Georgetown Hoya, Sugar Rodgers, contributed 15 points for New York.
With the series split, the Mystics will head back to New York on Tuesday in front of what’s expected to be another sold-out crowd, in hopes to advance.