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The Washington Mystics played three games in five days, but the team with the best record in WNBA didn’t let fatigue faze them as they recorded another blowout victory Sunday, 107-68, against the Indiana Fever.
The boisterous crowd in southeast D.C. saw Washington reach 20 wins on the season while recording season-highs in points and 36 in the third quarter.
With three weeks left in the regular season, Washington clinched a playoff berth Friday and could break a franchise record in wins (22).
Mystics guard Natasha Cloud, who broke the franchise assist record with 571 on Friday in Minnesota, could record a franchise record for most assists in a season. She currently has 152 but needs 32 more to surpass Nikki Teasley’s mark of 183, set in 2006.
But Cloud said the team’s focus remains on a WNBA championship after being swept in last season’s finals by the Seattle Storm.
“Our mindset at the beginning of the season from the offseason was, ‘We’re going to run it back.’ We need to put ourselves into a position to run it back,” said Cloud, who scored nine points and dished out eight assists Sunday. “We don’t take anyone lightly. We take our game plan seriously. I think that’s the biggest difference in our team this year is the professionalism and how we approach the game.”
Indiana (9-17) experienced Washington’s offensive and defensive tenacity.
The Mystics broke a WNBA record with 18 made 3-pointers, shooting 46 percent from beyond the arc.
Although every player scored Sunday, only LaToya Sanders and Kim Mestdagh didn’t register a 3-pointer.
“We shoot a ton of 3’s every day. The world looks really good when you’re making shots,” said Mystics head coach Mike Thibault.
Once again, Thibault and the players credit defense as the main reason for its six-game winning streak.
Indiana shot 40 percent from the floor and only 3-of-15 from the 3-point line.
The Fever also committed 13 turnovers and recorded 15 assists, compared to Washington’s six turnovers and 30 assists. Washington also recorded seven steals and four blocked shots.
“I think defense wins championships. It’s a really cliché basketball term, but you got to find a way to get stops,” said Ariel Atkins, who scored 14 points and shot 4-for-9 from 3-point range. “Our offense is flowing because our defense has been flowing. It gets us in transition and allows us to play at our pace. If we’re playing our game, I’ll take us any day.”