New York Liberty Kayla Thornton Shocks the Washington Mystics

New York Liberty Kayla Thornton Shocks the Washington Mystics

By John “Woods” Armwood III

Friday night, the New York Liberty (6-2) took on the Washington Mystics (0-8) at home and began to put some doubt or fear in the supporters' minds. Despite defeating the Mystics, 90-79, the Mystics played the Liberty much tougher than some anticipated. There were moments throughout the game where the Liberty appeared to be in control, however the Mystics continued to claw and fight back to make it a one or two-possession game. Although the win was impressive by the Liberty, they were forced several times in this game to create consistent offense to maintain the lead. 

“It’s the fact we’re never ready to give up,” future HOFer and Liberty star forward Breanna Stewart explains in the postgame interview. “Whether it got to a one-point game, if we were up one or down one, just continuing to trust one another and know that we're not leaving here without a win. Especially, protecting home court is always important.”

New York Liberty Positive Takeaway

Contradictory to the Mystics' underwhelming record, the Mystics are genuinely tough and haven’t lost a game in double digits until Friday night. Some may see this victory by the Liberty and consider worrying as this game was not a pretty win. Nonetheless, there were many positives to take from this game and build on moving forward.

One of the biggest takeaways was the Liberty bench's versatility and deepness. Oftentimes, veteran guard Kayla Thornton is asked to play great defense on opposing teams' star players and occasionally knock down a shot or two. Due to Courtney Vandersloot’s injury, she was moved to the starting lineup where she displayed her offensive skillset. Things many haven’t seen from Thornton, nor did many any believe she was capable. That said, Thornton recorded just a point away from her career-high of 20 points and five steals. 

Another positive that was displayed in this game was the resiliency and toughness of the Liberty. Throughout the game, there are several times where it appears the Liberty began to get complacent with their lead. In those moments, the Mystics crept back into the game, but the consistent ability to lock back in and create timely points to secure the win will be vital later in the season.

What’s Next for the Liberty?

Sunday night, the Liberty are set to face the Indiana Fever (2-9) led by Caitlin Clark at home.

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