Via 13 video games thus far this season the Washington Mystics have realized lots about their opponents, however maybe none greater than the Chicago Sky. Of the 13 video games they’ve performed, three have been towards the defending champions. The Mystics are 1-2 in these video games and all have been very shut battles. Each groups are fairly evenly matched, which makes this a possible playoff preview.
The Mystics have performed all however 40 minutes in these three video games with out Elena Delle Donne, who exited Wednesday’s sport early with a again harm.
Shedding Delle Donne to a again harm is critical given the historical past she’s had with all these accidents, however the Mystics have been used to taking part in with out Delle Donne for some time now, so subsequent participant up is the mentality.
Ariel Atkins answered the decision, main all scorers with 19 factors on 69 p.c true taking pictures, together with 5 assists and 7 rebounds. With out Delle Donne, the Mystics wanted Atkins to hold the offensive load for the workforce, and she or he delivered, posting one in every of her greatest performances of the season thus far.
This sport was shut on the half, with Washington main by 5 factors. On this sport, the Mystics had the fewest quantity of possessions in a sport that they’ve had all season, with 74, however they have been efficient taking pictures the ball.
To start out the second half, Washington jumped out on a 12-2 run to take a 15-point lead. The Mystics have been comfortably forward for almost all of the sport.
Till the previous couple of minutes.
Chicago compelled a number of turnovers within the finals minutes, which led to threes and finally a Candace Parker three-point play to tie the sport at 82. Natasha Cloud was fouled on a possible sport winner and made a pair of clutch free throws with six seconds remaining. Candace Parker missed a layup on the buzzer as Washington prevailed 84-82.
Newly acquired veteran Alysha Clark had a really robust night time, scoring 18 factors together with three rebounds and two assists in 27 minutes.
After Wednesday’s sport towards, Chicago Sky head coach James Wade had this to say about going through a really acquainted opponent for the second time in simply 4 days:
One similarity between Chicago and Washington is the quantity of pick-and-roll that they run. With Natasha Cloud and Courtney Vandersloot each on the prime of the league in assists per sport with just below seven, they’re each two of the principle offensive hubs for his or her groups’ offenses. Each groups rating loads of their factors within the paint, Chicago aiding on 68.4 p.c of its workforce’s photographs on the rim, which is second within the league. Washington will not be far off at 62.21%.
The offensive philosophies of each groups are very comparable, and the kind of photographs produced out of these pick-and-roll schemes are comparable. Watching each groups, it’s no shock how aggressive these three video games have been, and with a celebrity like Delle Donne lacking a majority of the time on this three-game sequence, it’s not loopy to imagine the end result of this early season sequence could be a lot completely different along with her taking part in extra.
Improbable footwork and fingers by Shakira Austin after switching onto Vandersloot. Alysha Clark does an important job of taking away straightforward selections up entrance as effectively pic.twitter.com/ZooLOxnR2Z
— Gabe Ibrahim (@gabe_ibrahim) June 9, 2022
It has been relieving to see the Mystics discover completely different contributors all through the season. Regardless of the shedding streak they suffered earlier, there are a ton of vibrant spots to remove from it. With all of the lineup inconsistencies, they’ve been a fairly resilient workforce on the defensive finish, which supplies them an opportunity towards anyone within the league.
Within the 13 video games this season, head coach Mike Thibault has deployed 9 completely different beginning lineups, with final night time’s beginning line of Delle Donne, Clark, Shakira Austin, Atkins, and Cloud getting used for simply the second time all season.
Earlier than the sport, Mike Thibault talked in regards to the issue of lineup inconsistencies and what he’s in search of within the workforce:
The Mystics received’t see the Chicago Sky once more till Aug. 5. Within the meantime, their subsequent sport is tonight towards the Minnesota Lynx at 8 p.m. ET.