Story By: Erin Zollars
Photos By: Sol Tucker
If the Mystics were going to show the WNBA they were worthy of talk as one of the better teams in the league for 2023, they just proved that with a solid 80-64 victory over a stacked Liberty team.
Natasha Cloud and Ariel Atkins each scored 14 points to lead the way for the Mystics, who had their woes offensively to start the game, but solid defensive play after the half forced the Liberty into quite a few mistakes which gave the Mystics the chance to control the the game by double figures for most of the second half.
Elena Delle Donne added 13 points and Kristi Toliver scored 10 in her return to Washington after spending two seasons in Los Angeles.
Sabrina Ionescu led New York with 18 points. Breanna Stewart had 12 points and 12 rebounds despite picking up her fourth foul with 3:42 left in the third quarter.
New York has high expectations this season after adding former MVPs Jonquel Jones through a trade and Stewart as a free agent. The Liberty also signed All-Star point guard Courtney Vandersloot.
There seems to be quite a bit of offensive talent on the court for the Libert, but they are going to have to find a way to create an offense that consistently doesn’t turn the ball over and lead to excessive fast break points. There would have been at least 10 extra fast break points if the Mystics could have converted on several of those second quarter miscues.
Some of the shocking numbers coming out of the game today included the 5-of-16 effort from the field for Jones and Stewart, as well as 20 turnovers for the Liberty as a team.