Washington Mystics (10-6) vs New York Liberty (5-12)
When: Thursday, July 5th, at 7 p.m.
Where: Capital One Arena , Washington D.C.
TV: NBCSWA, ESPN 3, MSG +
Mystics: Ariel Atkins (Probable/Concussion), Myisha Hines-Allen (Questionable/ Ankle)
Liberty: Marissa Coleman (Questionable/ Ankle)
84.1 - points per game
81.9 - points against
45.4 - Field goal %
77.4 - points per game
83.0 - points against
42.6 - field goal %
Keep an eye on:
Liberty Inside Attack: Washington thanks to a game winning three pointer as time expired, survived the first match-up with New York in DC a week ago. And I do mean survived. The Liberty brought it to the Mystics physically, led by their front line of all WNBA forward Tina Charles (19.4 points, 6.5 rebounds) and center, former Mystic, Kia Vaughn. The pair combined for 34 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assist on 14 of 23 shooting from the field, Vaughn was especially big time, posting 16 points, 6 rebounds on 6-8 shooting, her 16 points was nearly three times that of her season average (6 ppg). Washington will have to match New York’s physicality from opening tip as the hungry Liberty will look to avenge last week’s loss. It starts inside, Sanders and Thomas will have to bring it defensively or it will be a repeat of last week’s hard fought win.
Mystics Team Defense: Washington has had stretches throughout the season, where they break down defensively and it either keeps teams in games or it puts Washington in a deeper hole. New York thrives off bad rotations defensively from opponents with efficient ball movement. Liberty ranks third in the WNBA in assist, dishing out 19.8 a game, which is how they make up for the lack of firepower offensively. Washington on the other hand, allows 19.3 assist a game which is eighth in the WNBA. This was key to the Liberty nearly defeating the Mystics in their first meeting. If the Mystics can put together a full game of swarming disciplined defense, they should overwhelm the Liberty overall and get back in the winning column.
Watch out for Epiphanny Prince: Prince had her way against Washington on June 28th, scoring a team high 21 points on 8-13 shooting from the field and 4-6 shooting from three point territory. Prince hit big shot after big shot to keep the Liberty in front most of the game, before a late Washington run won the game late in the fourth. Prince is as deadly a shooter as there is in the WNBA, shooting 50 percent from deep (second in the WNBA) and 87.5 percent from the line, she’s a perfect complement to the inside presence of Charles. Running her off the three point line and forcing her to finish over Washington’s length is ideal with Prince shooting 39 percent from the field.