WNBA

Silver Stars-Mystics Preview

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Washington Mystics coach Mike Thibault isn't the WNBA's all-time wins leader for nothing, so it's not a surprise his offensive strategy against the San Antonio Silver Stars worked well last week.

His team may be following a similar script Tuesday night in D.C. as Washington seeks its second win over San Antonio in five days.

The Mystics (7-7) went to the post often in Friday's 83-73 road victory over the Silver Stars, as Crystal Langhorne finished with a team-best 14 points and hit 6 of 8 from the field. They've won three of four since dropping five straight in June.

''They do a lot of switching and we tried to make them pay for it,'' Thibault said after his team also outrebounded San Antonio 44-25 and totaled 26 points in the paint. ''Attack the post when they switched out. Everybody has a different style of defense; we just wanted to see if we could get them on their heels a little bit.''

Thibault could opt for a similar strategy Tuesday, though he's also hoping to get a better performance from his starters after Washington squandered a 14-point lead in the third quarter.

The Mystics' bench scored 31 points, led by a season-high 10 from Tierra Ruffin-Pratt.

''Our starters did a terrible job to start the third quarter so I got them out,'' Thibault said. ''And they can sit over there and watch and let our bench play - and our bench was great, just absolutely great.''

Ivory Latta scored 12 points and hit only 3 of 11 from the field. After averaging 19.8 points over her first five games, the point guard has averaged 12.8 over her last nine.

"Players off the bench came in and did what they were supposed to do," Latta said. "We believe in everybody, and thank God we got the job done.''

The Silver Stars (4-10), ravaged by injuries for much of the season, were paced by 22 points from Jia Perkins.

''We are what we are,'' coach Dan Hughes said after Friday's loss. ''You know, we have not taken care of what we need to take care of, so it really has nothing to do with the errors, but with the consistency of this group. That is what this is really about.''

Turnovers were the issue Sunday when San Antonio committed 14 in Sunday's 86-84 loss to Connecticut after finishing with eight versus Washington.

Perkins scored a season-high 23 points but missed a potential game-tying 19-foot jumper in the closing seconds. The Silver Stars were outscored 22-14 in the fourth quarter, squandered a six-point lead in the final 6:58 and have lost five of six.

''We had a couple of turnovers (in the fourth), and we hadn't had many turnovers in the game,'' Hughes said. ''We stayed right there, but we could never wrestle the lead back.''

San Antonio's loss to Washington on Friday ended its four-game winning streak in the series.

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