Cloud has career night in Mystics’ 94-85 win over Liberty
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — After losing in the WNBA Finals last year, Washington coach Mike Thibault tried to get a more balanced offense to complement Elena Delle Donne.
It’s worked so far.
Natasha Cloud scored a career-high 26 points and the Mystics had five players in double figures to beat the New York Liberty 94-85 on Friday night.
“That’s the biggest thing we’ve tried to accomplish this offseason,” Thibault said of developing other scorers. “Not allow teams to help off people. I felt some times last year we were playing four against five offensively because we didn’t have consistency on the floor.”
Washington (3-1) held a 74-70 lead before scoring five straight points — the first three coming on a 3-point play by Tianna Hawkins. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough followed with a basket to make it a nine-point game. She finished with 15 points. Delle Donne had a relatively quiet night with 13.
“For our two top shooters, me and Kristi (Toliver), not to hit that many shots and have everyone else step up shows how dangerous we are,” Delle Donne said. “If we can get stops we know we can score no matter who’s having an off night.”
The Liberty (0-4) have now lost 17 straight games dating to last season. The longest losing streak in WNBA history is 20 in a row by Tulsa in 2011.
“We’re not focused on last year, we’re looking at this year,” said Rebecca Allen, who had all 13 of her points for New York in the second quarter.
New York could only get within five the rest of the way.
Tina Charles scored 27 points to lead New York.
The teams traded the lead five times in a high-scoring first half that saw Washington lead 50-49 at the break.
TIP-INS: Las Vegas coach Bill Laimbeer had his staff at the game Friday night scouting his former club. The Aces play at New York on Sunday. ... The Mystics have won four straight in the series. ... Cloud’s previous best was 18 against Phoenix in 2016. ... Rookie Asia Durr had 11 points for New York.
Mystics: Host Dallas on Sunday.
Liberty: Host Las Vegas on Sunday.