Washington Mystics (0-0) vs Minnesota Lynx (0-0)
When: Sunday , May 6, at 3:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa TV/Streaming: None
Injury/ International Commitments
Mystics: Taylor Hill (Injured/ Recovery from ACL tear last season), Kristi Toliver (Probable/Overseas Play), LaToya Sanders (Probable/Overseas Play), Asia Taylor (Probable/Overseas Play), Krystal Thomas (Probable/Overseas Play)
Lynx: Maya Moore (Probable/Overseas Play) , Temi Fagbenle (Probable/Overseas Play) , Endy Miyem (Probable/Overseas Play), and Cecilia Zandalasini (Probable/Overseas Play)
Mystics - 2017 Record 18-16 3rd in Eastern Conference
Lynx - 2017 Record 27-7 1st in Western Conference (WNBA Champions)
Mystics - (2017)
81.7 - points per game
81.0 - points against
41.6 - Field goal %
Lynx - (2017)
85.4 - points per game
74.2 - points against
47.8 - field goal %
Keep an eye on:
Rookies: looking to get in the rotation and make the final roster. Mystics first round pick Ariel Atkins, an All Big 12 First Team and All Defensive Team selection will be looked upon to step in and make an impact at both guard spots. The 5'11 guard averaged 14.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.2 assist and 2.7 steals per game on 53 percent shooting from the field, 40 percent shooting from deep and 85 percent from the line during her senior campaign at Texas. With Ivory Latta gone and Taylor Hill still recovering from an ACL tear that occured last July, Atkins will get an opportunity to display her talents as a two way player early and often.
Second round pick Myisha Hines-Allen, a three time All ACC forward from Louisville is a walking double double. Hines-Allen posted 13.7 points and 9.9 rebounds a game during the 17-18 season on 52 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent shooting from deep. While the front court is crowded, there is a spot for a big with Emma Meesseman (14.1 PPG/ 5.7 RPG/1.5 BPG Team High) sitting out the 2018 season, however, her shoes will be difficult to fill. Hines- Allen has the tools to be the steal in the draft. Automatic scorer in the paint due to her ability to score in various ways, one on one, in traffic, it doesn't matter. Add in her willingness to mix it up and rebound and being a capable outside threat (42% 3FG), Hines-Allen could be a inside-outside force for years to come.
AJ Alix (Florida State/ 11.7 PPG/ 6.5 APG/ 37% 3FG) one of the top collegiate floor generals, Tanaya Atkinson (Temple/ 20.9 PPG/ 9.2 RPG/ 47% FG) an explosive scoring guard , and Tinara Moore (Central Michigan/ 19.2 PPG/ 9.6 RPG/ 2.3 BPG/ 58% FG/ 81% FT) a 6'3 center who has two way potential will all get an opportunity to earn a roster spot.
Development: of key players with the Mystics. Year two of Elena Della Donne. We all know shes an offensive force, averaging 19.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks on a career high 49 percent shooting from the field and 95 percent from the line. The key for her is becoming a force defensively as Mystics head coach Thibault has stated on many occasions. On ball, help side, blocking shots and rebounding, her dominating consistently at all of those aspects defensively will go a long way towards turning Washington into a championship contender.
Tasha Cloud and Tierra Ruffin Pratt are two of the more versatile guards in the WNBA. Cloud can play on the ball as a floor general or off the ball, due to her elite play making ability and defensive impact. Whats held her back is being a reliable shooter, teams defend her by giving her space daring her to shoot and if she doesn't make them, it's essentially four on five offensively. Her improving as a shooter form mid range, three point range, off the dribble, on the move and spot up will open her game up and provide another weapon for Washington.
TRP, is arguably the WNBA's best on ball defender. While she doesn't get the respect she truly deserves on that end, its a fact that her impact on that end is rare. She literally can defend every position on the floor and Thibault takes full advantage of that. It's nothing to see her defend Sue Bird one game, Taurasi the next and then Maya Moore, Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike and on and on. She's fun to watch on that end. What was a welcome sight last season was a go to post game from TRP where she abused guards in the post, which forced opponents to have to defend her where in previous seasons, they dared her to shoot. TRP also brought improved ball handling and passing which paid dividends with a high low game with Delle Donne and Meesseman last season where they would flash to the free throw line for a jumper from TRP posting up. Now, we're hearing TRP has spent the offseason working on her three point shot, if she brings that this season, she will become the x-factor for the Mystics moving forward.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, with a year under her belt is one player to especially watch. Word is she's had an impressive training camp and is ready to step in and be a consistent efficient all around threat for the Mystics, especially with Taylor Hill, who was having an all star caliber season before tearing her ACL last season, is still recovering. One of the top deep threats her senior year at Maryland, is SWK can add that element this season, the floor will open greatly for Washington, especially with Delle Donne being the sniper she is.