The Washington Mystics have the most rookies on their roster than any other team in the WNBA. And in a league dominated by veterans and breakout second or third year players, it's hard to find a team which relies on their rookies to produce night after night. But head coach Mike Thilbault, in his first year coaching the Mystics, uses his four rookies often. And when their number is called, they respond.
Like in Tuesday night's win over San Antonio.
The win gives the Mystics an 8-7 record, landing them a spot at third place in the East, just three games behind the first place Atlanta Dream. Tuesday night was the Mystic's second consecutive win. Their last win was a ten point win on the road Friday night against none other than San Antonio.
With two losses to the Mystics, the Silver Stars drop to 4-11 overall and sit at fifth place in the West.
Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, a rookie out of UNC, scored a game-high 13 points. Crystal Langhorne also had 13 points and just barely missed her second double-double of the season with 9 rebounds. Rookie Nadirah McKenith out of St. John's added 11 points and 3 assists while Emma Meesseman from Belgium, a fellow rookie, chipped in 8 points and pulled down 5 rebounds.
Jia Perkins and Shenise Johnson both had 12 points to lead the Silver Stars. Veteran Delisha Milton-Jones added 10 points.
Thibault put great faith in his rookies in the win. It's not rare for him to do this either. In the Mystic's last match up with the Silver Stars, Thibault sat his starters for most of the third quarter and watched his second string team, made up of mostly the four rookies, extend the lead. That night the four rookies combined for 27 points and played an average of 15.4 minutes. In the win Tuesday night, the rookies combined to score 34 points and averaged 17.75 minutes. They helped add to the bench's scoring total of 42 points, just two points less than the starters scored.
Thibault comments, "It's nice to look at a box score where you have 42 points from your bench and 44 from your starters. It's just one of those good nights."
The Mystics hope to extend their win streak to five games with three games left before the All-Star break. On Friday, July 19th at 7PM, they will visit the defending champion Indiana Fever. Then on Sunday, July 21st, the Fever will visit the Verizon Center for a 4PM game. The last game the Mystics will play before the break will be a match up at home against the Chicago Sky who are just ahead of the Mystics in the East standings. It will be a matinee game on Wednesday, July 24th at 11:30AM. The game will be broadcasted on NBA TV.