Mystics start strong and finish stronger

Washington, D.C. – The Washington Mystics started strong and didn’t look back on Tuesday, resulting in a much-needed win over the Chicago Sky, 88-60.

Kristi Toliver was the high scorer for Washington, finishing with 19 points and eight assists, followed by Eastern Conference player of the week Elena Delle Donne with 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four blocks.

Cheyenne Parker came off of the bench for Chicago to score 18 points and grab nine rebounds, followed by Kahleah Copper’s 13 points.

The win was so solid that guard Tayler Hill’s number was called for the first time this season, after tearing her ACL 11 months ago – a big morale boost for the home team.

But despite the rout, the Mystics recognize there is still plenty of work to do to realize the team’s full potential.

“We needed that kind of a win tonight,” coach Mike Thibault said. “We need to play a whole a lot better come Friday night, and we’re going to have to play even better next week, but I thought we were better tonight…when you hold somebody to 50 or 60 points you’ve done a good job in this league.”

Veteran guard Kristi Toliver said the team will take the win and move on, as they hit the road to take on the Sky again Friday.

“We can’t be content with what happened today,” Toliver said. “This is not going to be the case in Chicago, they’re going to come out and they’re going to be very aggressive and we’re going to have to respond to that.”

The Sky couldn’t get anything going on offense against Washington’s defense, which generated 13 steals.

“They capitalized every time we turned the ball over,” Parker said. “We just struggled scoring. Our leading scorer struggled and that hurt us a lot.”

“We must score,” Sky coach Amber Stocks said. “That will happen when we decrease the turnovers.”