WASHINGTON – The Washington Mystics not only beat San Antonio, they didn't even let the Silver Stars score for a while.
Crystal Langhorne had 13 points and nine rebounds, and the Mystics held San Antonio without a point for more than nine minutes in the second half to complete a two-game sweep of the Silver Stars with an 86-64 victory on Tuesday night.
Tierra Ruffin-Pratt also scored 13 points and fellow rookie Nadirah McKenith had 11 for the Mystics (8-7), who have won two straight, both against the Silver Stars.
Washington, a winner of four of five games since dropping five straight in June, held San Antonio scoreless for a 9-minute, 26-second span of the second half. The Silver Stars missed 14 straight shots in that stretch.
The Silver Stars hadn't lost in Washington since 2006 but have found the Mystics are no longer pushovers.
"They attack from jump ball to the last buzzer," Silver Stars forward DeLisha Milton-Jones said. "Tonight, we just could not find a way to stop the bleeding."
Washington controlled every aspect of the game, including scoring 16 points off 21 San Antonio turnovers. All 11 players on the roster scored, with the bench contributing nearly half the points. The Mystics held a 27-point lead in the second half during their largest margin of victory on the season.
"I particularly liked our defensive effort," Mystics coach Mike Thibault said after Washington held the Silver Stars to 38.9 percent shooting. Washington also had 20 assists with only 10 turnovers.
"It's nice to look at a box score where you have 42 points from your bench and 44 from your starters," said Thibault, who became the winningest coach in WNBA history earlier this month. "It's just one of those good nights."
Shenise Johnson and Jia Perkins led the Silver Stars (4-11) with 12 points.
Danielle Adams' bank shot cut Washington's advantage to 58-51 with 3:23 remaining in the third quarter. The Silver Stars did not record another point until Shameka Christon's 3-pointer with 3:57 left in the game, as the Mystics led 78-54.
"It all started on the defensive end," said Ruffin-Pratt, who had nine points in the second half. "We got some good stops and it all transferred over on the offensive end."
Leading from midway through the first quarter and 41-36 at halftime, the Mystics opened the third by making eight of 12 shots, closed it with 10 straight points for a 68-51 lead and eventually pushed the run to 20-0.
"Wherever they saw a lane, they attacked," said Milton-Jones, who matched Adams with 10 points.
On Friday in San Antonio, Washington prevailed 83-73. The Silver Stars then lost 86-84 at Connecticut on Sunday and are 2-7 on the road this season.
"Now we have to make that decision," Milton-Jones said. "Are we going to continue to play on our heels or going to roll our sleeves up and say 'If you're going to drive, you're going to have to drive through me.'
"That's the lesson that we're learning now. We're taking a lot of bumps and bruises on the head because we're being hardheaded in a sense. Being stubborn in that way is going to continue to get us 'Ls.'"
Washington's four rookies accounted for the Mystics' final 10 points of the third quarter. Like their coach, the new players haven't been around for the previous misadventures against San Antonio.
"In the past, this has been a tough team for the Mystics to play from what I hear," said Thibault, who has led Washington to three more victories this season than the team had all of last season.
The teams combined to make their first eight attempts from the field and both shot at least 59 percent from the field in the first quarter. Washington led 28-22 after the opening period and by as many as 11 during the sloppier second quarter.
Nine of the 10 Mystics that played during the first half scored, including Langhorne, who had seven points and seven rebounds.