WASHINGTON — Crystal Langhorne scored 12 points and the Washington Mystics beat the Seattle Storm 62-59 on Saturday, giving coach Mike Thibault a WNBA-record 212 career victories.
Thibault coached the Connecticut Sun for 10 seasons before going to Washington, where he has already guided the Mystics (6-6) to more victories than they had last season. Washington won 11 wins the past two seasons combined.
“I guess it’s one of those things you’ll think more about when your career ends,” Thibault said. “I plan on being around hopefully to see 300 wins or 400 wins.”
Michelle Snow added eight points and 13 rebounds, and Ivory Latta scored 11 points for the Mystics, who won their second consecutive game after dropping five in a row.
Washington built an 18-point lead in the first half before holding on late. The Mystics shot a season-low 32.7 percent from the field, but got key baskets late after their advantage was trimmed to one.
Thibault owns a career WNBA coaching record of 212-140, one more win than Van Chancellor, who won the league’s first four championships during a 10-season stay with the Houston Comets.
Thibault’s Connecticut teams made the playoffs eight of 10 seasons and lost twice in the WNBA Finals.
Shekinna Stricklen scored 20 points off the bench for the Storm (5-7), which has lost four of its past five contests.
The Storm entered the game with the second-worst offense in the league (71.8 points per game) and didn’t help itself by turning the ball over a season-high 26 times.
The Storm committed 11 turnovers during the first quarter and matched its season average of 14 early in the second quarter.
Stricklen almost brought the Storm back from a 35-21 halftime deficit single-handedly. Her third 3-pointer of the fourth quarter cut Seattle’s deficit to 60-58 with just over two minutes remaining.
“We did a lot of things right, and then Shekinna Stricklen kind of screwed up the game plan for a bit,” Thibault said.
But Seattle couldn’t capitalize on a handful of opportunities to tie or take the lead. Tina Thompson and Stricklen missed three game-tying attempts in the final seconds.
“We put ourselves in a hole and it’s a thing we’ve done continuously all season long,” Seattle coach Brian Agler said. “Sometimes we’ve found a way to fight back, sometimes we don’t. Tonight was one of those times we didn’t.”
Quanitra Hollingsworth joined the Mystics following her commitment with the Turkish national team. Hollingsworth was acquired in a trade with the New York Liberty for the 25th pick in this year’s draft.