Washington Mystics coach Mike Thibault surely would’ve liked to be in this position a few weeks ago, but he’s finally on the verge of making history.
Thibault looks to become the WNBA’s winningest coach as Washington hosts the Seattle Storm on Saturday night.
After winning a combined 11 games over the last two seasons, the Mystics hired Thibault, who had a successful 10-year run with Connecticut, to guide their turnaround.
Washington (5-6) already has matched last year’s win total, with Thibault picking up his 211th career victory with Sunday’s 84-61 rout of Tulsa to tie former Houston Comets coach Van Chancellor.
“That’s a major accomplishment,” Currie said. “I’m very excited and happy for him. He’s definitely one of the best coaches, if not the best coach, in the league and I’m honored to be able to play with him and grow as a player in his system.”
Thibault sought to sign Latta specifically when he took the job, and the point guard is averaging career bests in points (15.8) and assists (4.1).
“You can’t match that intensity that she brings,” Currie said. “When she’s pumped up and she’s playing well, I think a lot of us feed off her energy.”
Latta seems more than happy with her decision to play for Thibault.
“Coach is the guy,” Latta said. “I’m an extension of him right there on the court and I’m so happy for him. It’s definitely a great accomplishment.”
It took some time for Washington to push Thibault to the brink of history, though. Sunday’s victory ended a five-game losing streak that began with a 96-86 loss at Seattle on June 18.
“It was important for us to come out here and not only protect our home court but show we’re capable of coming out here and winning games,” Currie said.
Veteran Tina Thompson, who announced she’ll retire at the end of the season, scored a season-high 30 points for the Storm in the first meeting with Washington, and her 10 points and 11 boards helped guide them to a 69-60 win over Chicago on Tuesday.
Camille Little and Temeka Johnson added 16 points apiece for Seattle (5-6), which overcame a 14-point deficit to snap a three-game losing streak. It marked a season-low in points, and the Storm held Chicago to 29.9 percent shooting.
“That was our lull in the beginning, we couldn’t put anything in,” Thompson said. “But we played pretty well defensively. So once we got our rhythm offensively and our defense was as good as it was, that allowed us to build the lead.”
Seattle ranks 11th of 12 WNBA teams in scoring, averaging 71.8 points.
Washington allowed an average of 90.4 points during its losing streak before setting a season best in points allowed in its last contest.
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