Friendly Bounce Playbook: Mystics free Latta for game-tying three


The opening game of the New York Liberty and Washington Mystics’ first-round playoff series was one of the best WNBA Playoff games in recent memory, as the Mystics escaped in double overtime with an 86-83 victory. But they almost didn’t get that far, as they were down three with just over 30 seconds left in regulation.

That’s when they turned to Ivory Latta to save the day. Taking the ball out on the sideline, the Mystics lined up in a classic stack formation.

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First, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt circles around to the weak side corner, while Latta pops up to receive the pass from Kara Lawson.

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After inbounding the ball, Lawson slides down to the strong side corner, while TRP continues to the weak side corner. This creates good spacing for the rest of the play. As Latta catches the ball, Emma Meesseman leaves the stack to pop up and catch a pass from Latta.

Meanwhile, LaToya Sanders remains in place and prepares to set a screen for Latta.

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As Meesseman controls up top, Latta uses Sanders’ screen. Tina Charles sinks into the paint to prevent Latta from getting an easy layup.

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As soon as she gets a few feet past Sanders’ first screen, Latta sets up her defender with a feint toward the paint, then plants and cuts back up towards the top of the key. While Latta is doing that, Sanders has turned to set a second screen.

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Sanders’ second screen picks off Latta’s defender, and with Tina Charles sinking into the paint to prevent the layup on the initial screen, she’s in no position to help. In addition, TRP and Lawson’s spacing in the corners has pulled their defenders too far away from offering any help as well.

As a result, Latta cashes out on the huge three to tie the game.

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