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The Washington Mystics dropped its third straight game, as they lost to the first-place Las Vegas Aces 85-81 in front of a sellout home crowd on Saturday evening.
“It was one of those nights,” Mystics’ Head Coach Mike Thibault said. “We looked rushed on offense with Emma [Meesseman] being in her first game back and no Elena [Delle Donne].
Washington’s energy in the first quarter was unmatched, jumping out to a 10-2 lead during the opening minutes. The Mystics entire starting five scored in the first quarter and held Las Vegas to 31 percent shooting.
The Aces rebounded in the second quarter, outscoring the Mystics 27-16 and turning a 15-point deficit into a distant memory.
“We just came out and adjusted our defense,” Aces’ center Liz Cambage said. “We got rebounds and did the things we should’ve came out doing in the first [quarter].”
Aces’ guard Sydney Colson delivered one of her best performances of the season, registering 17 points on 5-7 shooting. Colson was solid on the defensive end, recording four steals.
“I thought [Colson] turned the game around for them in the first half,” Thibault said. “She’s been a really good player for the Aces and she got them jump started tonight.”
All-Star forward A’ja Wilson scored 17 points and four rebounds. Wilson made some clutch baskets down the stretch to secure the victory for the Aces. Center Liz Cambage tallied 13 points and nine rebounds despite struggling in the first quarter.
“I came out trash,” Cambage said. “I just tried to stay focused and play through it all.”
The Aces used the free throw line to help make a comeback, going 21-26 from the charity stripe.
“When you put a team on the line that many times, it stops the clock and allows them to set their defense.” Thibault said. “We got a lot of reaching fouls instead of getting our bodies in front of the ball.”
The Mystics, who were without Donne for the third straight game, ended up shooting 38 percent from the floor. Meesseman, who replaced Donne in the starting lineup, registered 15 points and seven rebounds. Center LaToya Saunders posted a double-double, 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Natasha Cloud scored a game-high 18 points.
Despite the recent losing streak, the Mystics are still optimistic moving forward and feel they are in a good spot as the All-Star break approaches.
“Given everything that’s happened, Emma being gone and all the injuries we’ve had, to be 9-6 with three games left before the All-Star break; we’re going to be in really going shape heading into the second part of the season,” Thibault said.