The Mystics have had a week, down to a day to think about their loss in the season opener to the Minnesota Lynx. Tonight Washington will face the Indiana Fever, the Fever have played two games already. While they have lost both games, each contest was a close affair. Washington and Indiana are in search of their first win, the question is who will be leaving Bankers Life Fieldhouse with the victory??
The Fever have started the season without star forward Tamika Catchings, who may be a week or two away from her first minutes of the season. They have struggled to replace her production, last season she averaged 17.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 2.8 steals per game. One of the best surprises has been the play of Rookie Natasha Howard, the former Florida State Seminole opened the season with a double-double. She’s averaging 18.5 points and 8 rebounds while blocking 4 shots a game. Indiana has struggled due to their poor offensive efficiency and their inability to stop their opponents from scoring. They do a fairly good job on the glass, but they struggle mightily from converting three point opportunities. Marissa Coleman has gotten the start for Catchings, she is capable of producing in that role, but has struggled to find her shot. Struggles aside, she hasn’t had an issue of being assertive and must continue to do so in Catching’s absence. In terms of the Mystics, here’s what the Fever must do to come out with a victory:
- Establish Howard inside early, the Mystics have struggled on the glass
- Marissa Coleman must find her shot, was very successful in Preseason versus Washington
- Run the Mystics off the three point line, Ivory Latta went 7-9 in the Mystics first game
- Limit Washington’s second unit, Fever bench must be ready to combat them
- Control the paint, keep Ruffin-Pratt & Hartley out of the lane
The Mystics did lose their first game, but there issues might be easily corrected. The starting five underperformed on the offensive end outside of Ivory Latta(25 points), the second unit did a great job by scoring 33 points. One of the biggest issue in the loss versus the Lynx was their rebounding, Washington had the clear size advantage but got out-rebounded. It just comes down to attention to detail, they have to box out until the rebound is secured. More often than not, the Mystics would play great defense and give up an offensive rebound. Back to the starting lineup, they must start producing. While they’ve only played one game, inserting Dolson into the starting line up might help the starters get going. She provides a solid post option on offense and a good rim protector. The biggest plus could be her ability to set screens, she would be able to create separation on pick-and-rolls and for the shooters. This is the first back-to-back of the season, after tonight’s game in Indiana they will head back home to face Seattle at the Verizon Center. Here’s what the Mystics must do to beat the Fever and avoid being 0-2 heading into tomorrow’s game against Seattle.
- Latta must get her fellow starters rolling early
- BOX OUT, take advantage of their size advantage
- Get off to a good start, can’t play from behind again
- Lawson & Currie must be aggressive on offense