The Indiana Fever come into Washington, D.C. on a five game win streak, the Mystics on the other hand are trying to right the ship. They’ve dropped three consecutive games, but haven’t dipped below .500. With the first ranked Connecticut Sun just two games ahead of Washington, this weekend can make a huge difference. The Mystics host the Fever tonight, than face the East leading Sun on Sunday.
The Fever are led by the living legend, Tamika Catchings. She was just selected as an All-Star, her 10th selection in her career which is a league record. Catchings and Marissa Coleman lead the scorching Fever with 13.1 points per game. Indiana is a talented team, that plays physical basketball. Like the Mystics, they’ve struggled to rebound the ball consistently this season, so that will be an area worth keeping track of in this contest.
Indiana is much more than just Catchings and Coleman. Briann January is one of the better, yet underrated guards in the league. They also have one of the better guards off of the bench in the WNBA as well in Shavonte Zellous, her size and handle makes her a very tough cover. Rookie Natalie Achonwa has been solid in the middle this season as well, their are several bigs on the Fever roster in which Achonwa can learn from including super sub Lynetta Kizer.
Washington has really struggled recently, opposing teams are doing their best to crowd the paint and take Emma Meesseman out of the equation. Forcing, well daring Washington to beat them from beyond the arc and they have struggled to do so, connecting on just 32% from deep. The Mystics have too many talented shooters to be shooting that bad from distance, they need those shots to fall for the sake of their offense. Right now, opposing defenses are dictating the terms of the Washington offense and it should be the other way around.
Two players who have shined in the struggles have been Stefanie Dolson and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, it’s clear that both put in a lot of work over the offseason to get better. It’ll be interesting to see if the Mystics can get shots to fall this weekend. Again, they are far too talented of a team to be struggling like this. An adjustment that could work, or seemed to work at times was running the offense through Dolson both on the block and in the high post. She’s a capable and willing passer that could take advantage of her size to find her teammates. While there are several suggestions that could be made, none will help if those shots don’t fall. All the Mystics can do is continue to shoot with confidence, eventually the shots have to fall, right?
Keys to a Mystics Victory
- Play through Dolson. Use Stefanie to open up the Indiana defense, she’s capable of scoring against her player or finding a teammate for an easy shot. If Dolson is putting enough pressure on a defense to where they have to send a double, it opens things up for Emma
- Keep shooting. The Washington perimeter players have to keep shooting their shots, until they start falling. Good shooters don’t miss forever
- Get to the basket. Sometimes just seeing the ball go through the hoop changes things for struggling shooters, don’t just settle for the jump shot
- Rebound. This game will literally be won on the glass as both teams are not very good in that department
- Get Ivory going. She’s one of the few guards on the team that is shooting well from beyond the arc, more often than not Latta gets going when the Mystics are in a hole. She needs to get going early in games, especially with teams focusing most of their attention on stopping Meesseman