Tina Charles registered her fourth 30-point game in eight tries this season on Tuesday night as her Washington Mystics (3-5) defeated the Minnesota Lynx (3-5) 85-81 at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C.
Charles was 3-of-6 from downtown, was 10-of-10 from the free throw line and added eight rebounds.
The Mystics won the second by six and the third by nine to lead by 14 entering the fourth.
A Layshia Clarendon 3-pointer with 31.3 seconds remaining cut Washington’s lead to four. But Charles wasn’t done and made a layup with 22.3 seconds to go that put the Mystics back up by six. When Sylvia Fowles free throws cut it to five with 9.1 ticks remaining, Charles responded with her final free throws to make it a seven-point game with 6.4 to go.
A Rachel Banham 3-pointer at the buzzer was therefore innocuous.
Myisha Hines-Allen backed Charles up with 19 points and Ariel Atkins had 17. That’s the trio the Mystics are expecting to lead them in scoring. Natasha Cloud added 11 points, eight assists and six steals and reached 1,000 points for her career.
Washington was 21-of-22 from the free throw line.
Charles called a team meeting in between the Aces and Lynx games.
“It really showed that everyone does care about this season,” Charles said. “Everyone does believe that we can come out on top this season regardless of Elena and Emma and Alysha Clark not being here. So it was really great that everyone is very optimistic and everyone is engaged with the season and we were all on the same page about our third quarters and coming out of halftime needing to be better and controlling our body language and the energy that we put out.”
Dallas Wings (4-5) over Phoenix Mercury (5-4), 85-81
Dallas’ Arike Ogunbowale (22 points) made it a two-possession game with two free throws at 6.9 seconds remaining and Phoenix was unable to score again after that.
The Wings were up 11 with 1:41 to play before Brittney Griner (27 points, 16 rebounds, four assists) scored four-straight points. Skylar Diggins-Smith (22 points, six rebounds, five assists) followed that with five-straight points to cut the Mercury’s deficit to two with 30 seconds to go.
Marina Mabrey (14 points, six rebounds, five assists) then banked in a layup with 11.1 to go to give Dallas a four-point lead before Megan Walker and Ogunbowale exchanged free throws.
Satou Sabally added 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists to the winning cause while Isabelle Harrison notched nine points and nine boards. In addition, Tyasha Harris dished out a game-high seven assists.