For the third game in a row, the Mystics raced out of the blocks at the tip-off to build a double-digit lead over their opponent in the 1st quarter. Tonight it was actually a double-double digit lead, as Washington led the New York Liberty by 22 points, 34-12, at the end of the first 10 minutes.
Some positives from tonight: AB, playing like an All-Star, scored a team-high 28 points. Mo "take that Washington Post!" Currie was also in double figures, with 11 (and 9 boards), as was Nakia Sanford, who came off the bench to score a season-best 16 points in about 14 minutes of play. Washington won the battle of the boards, grabbing 42 rebounds to New York's 28. Although Lang scored only 7 points tonight, she cleaned the glass, finishing with 11 rebounds, 6 of them offensive. All 11 players on the Mystics' roster got into the game.
Tonight's win was the Mystics' 10th this season -- the same number of wins they had in all of last year. While it wasn't exactly a highlight reel classic, it was still a win . . . and an important one at that. With Connecticut's overtime loss in Indy, the Mystics have leap-frogged into 2nd place in the Eastern Conference!
Another significant fact about the win tonight: it finally put an end to a very long drought. The Mystics hadn't won a game in Madison Square Garden since July 8, 2004. That's right, 2004! More than 5 years ago! So, pretty or not, tonight's win in the Big Apple has been a long time coming.
It's clear that the Mystics are a very well-prepared team; we learned at a recent chalk talk how much emphasis the coaching staff places on analyzing film of their opponents. That may be why Washington has been so successful of late in the first quarter of their games. But it's obvious that there's still work to do. Hopefully the coaches and players will find a way to carry that early-game momentum into quarters 2, 3 and 4. In order to stay right in the midst of the playoff race, playing complete games and finishing strong need to be right at the top of the Mystics' to-do list . . . especially on Sunday when the #1 Fever make an encore appearance at the Verizon Center.