Washington Mystics vs Phoenix Mercury Preview
Mystics 12-6 vs Mercury 10-8
When: Tuesday, July 30th, at 7 p.m.
Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena
TV: NBCSWA, Monumental Sports Network
Mystics: Kiara Leslie – (Out, Torn Meniscus in right knee)
Mercury: Diana Taurasi (Out, Back)
85.5 - points per game
76.4 - points against
45.0 - Field goal %
74.2 - points per game
73.4 - points against
41.4 - field goal %
Keep an eye on:
Better Defensive Effort: against Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner is as much about redemption as it is a must! In a blowout loss to Phoenix on July 10th, Washington allowed Griner and Bonner to combine for 47 points and 15 rebounds. Tianna Hawkins, starting in place of the injured Elena Delle Donne, posted a team high 24 points and 7 rebounds, however, she was the only productive front court player. The rest of the Mystics front court scored a combined 11 points on 5 of 16 shooting. As a team, Washington saw Phoenix shoot 54.2 percent from the field.
Tuesday night, Washington will have MVP candidate Elena Delle Donne and forward Emma Meesseman back in the fold to make amends of that humiliating home loss and to keep pace with the Las Vegas Aces and Connecticut Sun. As gifted as Delle Donne and Meesseman are on offense, their most important job will come defensively, dealing with Griner averaging 19.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks and Bonner who is averaging 18.7 points and a career high 7.4 rebounds per contest. If the Mystics front court, led by Delle Donne, performs up to their standard on both ends, Washington should be in a good position to return the favor.
Briann January: was the x-factor in the Mercury’s win over the Mystics on July 10th. As dominant as Griner and Bonner were, the game got away from Washington once January went to work. January got it done in every way, posting 18 points, 6 assist, 5 rebounds and 2 steals on 8-11 shooting from the field and 2-4 shooting from deep with ONE turnover. For the season, January is averaging 10.9 points, 4.1 assist and 3.3 rebounds on 38 percent shooting from the field. It’s not often that Washington’s perimeter defense isn’t up to par this season, yet, it wasn’t against the Mercury and January made the Mystics pay all night. Suffocating January defensively will in essence “cut the head off the snake,” making it more difficult for Bonner and especially Griner to get in rhythm. I expect Tasha Cloud, Kristi Toliver, Atkins, Powers and Walker-Kimbrough to be highly motivated to make amends. Stay Tuned!!!