To the Washington Mystic’s credit, they played the Seattle Storm nearly even in three quarters of their 73-63 home loss yesterday.
They just didn’t do themselves any favors in the second quarter.
The opened the second quarter offensively with a long jumper off one foot with the shot clock running down, a pass into a triple team, a contested shot over a double team, and a jump pass off a baseline drive that the Storm defense couldn’t help but turn into a turnover. In between mental lapses on offense, their defense was only slightly better, giving up a transition layup and a barely contested drive by a particularly aggressive Tanisha Wright.
What began as a series of examples of how to drive almost any coach nuts turned into an exhibition of inefficient basketball. The Mystics ended up shooting 1-for-15 and committing seven turnovers – nearly 40% of their possessions – in a quarter that they’d likely forget.
And yet despite the type of play that self-inflected harm that might have demoralized many teams, the Mystics rebounded 8 of their own 14 missed shots (57.14% offensive rebounding percentage) and stayed aggressive on offense to get to the free throw line nine times while not allowing the Storm to get one attempt. They kept themselves in the game by maintaining the intensity that’s becoming the team’s trademark.
That, perhaps, is what one might want to see from a now-2-6 team – the Mystics never gave up and at least displayed consistent effort, if not ideal execution. But it didn’t take much for the Storm to beat them and the Storm didn’t exactly play exemplary basketball to pick up a road win.
However, more important for the Storm right now, as they attempt to keep pace in a competitive Western Conference without Lauren Jackson, are signs of improvement.