WNBA 2014: Washington Mystics 68, New York Liberty 60

Verizon Center, Washington, D.C., May 30, 2014 – A well-coached Washington Mystics outplayed the New York Liberty, winning 68-60.  Just four games into their 2014 season, the Mystics have already showed signs that they are able to execute in the manner that coach Mike Thibault is asking of them.

Given a ragtag team of inexperienced Mystics players – only one of the 12 has more than one year with the Mystics and four are rookies – Thibault has already managed to have them compete as a cohesive group.  First, to overcome their lack of teamwork, the players are platooned into two teams.  At any time during the game, he trusts each “team” enough to replace the other whenever the energy level dips. In this game, the “starter” team played 57.5% of the minutes and the “bench” team played 42.5%.  The New York Liberty, on the other hand, played their starters 68% of the time.  This approach allowed the Mystics to have a fresh team on the floor, particularly in the fourth quarter, where the Mystics outscored the Liberty by six points.

Secondly, to take advantage of the bigs he has, each “team” has two or three bigs (the starter team has Kia Vaughn (6’4″) at the center, and Emma Meesseman (6’4″) and Jelena Milovanovic (6’3″) at forward; the second with Stefanie Dolson (6’5″) and Tianna Hawkins at (6’3″)).   As a result, the Mystics managed eight more offensive rebounds and 15 more in total rebounds, leading to eight additional field-goal attempts.

Time will tell whether the players will continue to gel as a team – or in this case, teams.  Meanwhile, enjoy the games, Mystics fans.  You have quite a coach in D.C.

Photos: WNBA 2014: Washington Mystics 68, New York Liberty 60
all photos by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine