Story By: Erin Zollars
Photos By: Sol Tucker
In one of the closest games this season for the Mystics and without Elena Delle Donne in the line-up, they found the surging Mercury team too much in the overtime period falling just short, 99-90 in first of two games in three days against Pheonix.
The Mystics who scored just 5 points in the overtime period couldn’t find a way to control Skylar Diggins-Smith, who would be the answer for the Mercury, who played the overtime without Diana Taurasi.
Shey Peddy, who was virtually a non-factor in the fourth quarter for the Mercury scored seven points and Smith scored five.
The Mystics had four starters in double figures led by Myisha Hines-Allen with 18 points and 10 rebounds along with two steals. Ariel Atkins had an off-night scoring but found a way through some scrappy playing to hit for 15 points, eight of which came from the free throw line. Shakira Austin and Clark both had 12 points respectively. The Mystics bench combined for 24 points.
Even without Taurasi in the overtime, she hit a huge 3-pointer and a jumper before Diggins-Smith was fouled as she hit a step-back 3-pointer from the left wing and hit the and-1 free throw to cap a 10-2 run that gave the Mercury an 85-83 lead with 31.1 seconds left in regulation. Alysha Clark hit two free throws about 8 seconds later that eventually forced overtime. The Mercury would never look back at this point.
“Tonight, was a very physical game,” said Mystics Head Coach Mike Thibault. “We just have to put this one behind us and realize we face them again on Tuesday night. “We will make a few adjustments, but I think overall this team played great defense late in the game, they just got the best of us in overtime.”