Mystics 20-12 vs Sky 23-8
When: Friday, August 5th, at 8:00p.m.
Where: Wintrust Arena
TV: NBA TV, Marquee Sports Network, Monumental Sports Network
Mystics: Elena Delle Donne (Out, Rest)
Sky: Li Yueru (Questionable, Illness)
Keep an eye on:
Who Steps Up: with Delle Donne out of tonights contest. Washington, winners of nine of their last twelve games, is riding high currently and are looking to continue to ride their winning momentum going into tonight's game against the Sky. It's clear a collective effort will be needed from the Mystics to cover the absence of leading scorer Elena Delle Donne, however, the front court will especially have a spotlight on them as they battle the Sky's front court led by future hall of famer Candace Parker and former Mystics forward Emma Meesseman. Myisha Hines-Allen will probably start in place of Delle Donne and will be counted on to not only continue the efficient play she displayed against the Aces off the bench (9 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists on 4-7 FG/1-2 3FG), but be called on to help contain the versatile Parker and crafty Meesseman. Rookie sensation Shakira Austin who nearly posted a double double with 15 points and 8 rebounds in Tuesdays win over Las Vegas, will also get her shot at defending Chicago's dynamic front court while Elizabeth Williams provides a veteran presence inside from a reserve role.
Ariel Atkins: is playing at an ALL WNBA level this season and it was never more clear in Washington's last two wins over the Seattle Storm and Las Vegas Aces. In the Mystics 78-75 win over Seattle, Atkins torched the Storm for 23 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists on 8-17 shooting from the field and 4-9 from 3-point range WHILE holding fellow all star Jewell Loyd to 4-13 shooting from the field and 1-6 shooting from deep. Atkins, followed up that performance with a 13 point, 3 rebound, 2 assists outing on 5-9 shooting from the field and 2-4 shooting from 3-point territory while also suffocating Aces sniper Kelsey Plum to a 5-16 shooting performance, in a 83-73 win for Washington. Atkins has now entered the best shooting guard in the WNBA conversation. The impact she brings on BOTH ends at the off guard spot isn't matched currently and thats great news for Washington. She faces another tough test tonight in Chicago's Allie Quigley, who although has had her up's and down's this season, is capable of lighting up any opponent, especially from outside where she is a career 39 percent shooter from 3-point range. Atkins has been up to the task throughout this season, yet, without Delle Donne, they will need her to continue the elite level of play she has displayed, especially as of late.
Azura Stevens: has quietly been a thorn in Washington's side throughout their first three match-ups of the season. Stevens is averaging 10.6 points on 59 percent shooting from the field and 36 percent shooting from deep off the bench while using her size (6'6) and length to bother Mystics forwards and shooters on closeouts. She's a BIG reason Chicago holds a 2-1 record against Washington entering tonight's contest. The Mystics has to keep a close eye on her when she's in the game and limit her impact as they aim to make it ten wins out of their last thirteen contest.