Things have taken a turn for the worst for the Washington Mystics after such a promising start to the 2020 season.
A mere week after Washington started the year with a surprising 3-0 record, head coach Mike Thibault best described their third straight loss as one of the most embarrassing he's had in his coaching tenure while with the team. Falling to the Sabrina Ionescu-less New York Liberty, the Mystics had their worst offensive showing in over a year by posting only 66 points.
It's not exaggerating to say that Thibault is ticked.
"This is my eighth year in DC, and probably in many ways that was one of the most embarrassing losses, if not the most embarrassing loss, since I've been in DC," Thibault said postgame. "Not because we lost the game because of our approach, how we went about it. It's not the same that showed up and played the first couple games that we were here."
"That doesn't represent who we are as a Mystics organization and that was embarrassing."
Entering the game, New York (1-5) had yet to win a contest on the two-week-old season. They led the Mystics wire-to-wire, held Washington to a season-low 37.7% shooting night and forced them to turn the ball over 14 teams.
Washington's offense was sparse, inconsistent and lacked the physicality that the Liberty brought. The bench was basically nonexistent (six points).
In addition, Thibault said the Mystics lacked urgency and displayed a poor basketball IQ from start to finish.
All descriptions are a far cry from the incredible offense the Mystics had to start the year. The 3-0 spurt had the team humming at an incredible pace and looked like last year's buzzsaw team. But in every game the offense has struggled more and more, culminating in Friday's result.
The opposite of what was expected from the direction of the team this year.
Offense going in the wrong direction for the Mystics...— Tyler Byrum (@theTylerByrum) August 8, 2020
Point totals for the first six games:
Team is now 3-3 after a promising start.
"We have to find our identity," Aerial Powers said postgame. "It's like we're losing sight of who we are. The ball's not moving like it usually is."
There's not much time for Washington to regroup. The next game is less than 48 hours away, as is the norm this season with a condensed schedule due to the coronavirus. Thibault has been saying even he is still trying to figure things out after each loss.
It was evident that this team can work together and be successful - just look at the first three games. The problem is, the current version of the Mystics is far away from that.
"We just have to determine and find how we play," Emma Meesseman said. "So we know that we just have to play like we play. We know how we can do that. So I think this feeling we have now should be motivation enough. We use that tomorrow and the day after. We do our best to find ourselves."
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