Four games in a row, the Washington Mystics will take their winning streak on the road this weekend in the hopes of coming back with the streak still in tact. Washington is arguably the hottest team in the league right now. First up they’ll face the San Antonio Stars tonight, while their record isn’t great on the year every single one of their wins has come at home this season. Which team is going to leave with their streak still in tact? Following the game against the Stars, Washington will be headed to Chicago for their third meeting of the season, the season series is tied at one a piece.
That said, there is no reason for Washington to overlook the Stars. San Antonio is in the midst of a four game home stand, they’ve won all three thus far with the latest being a drubbing of the Atlanta Dream to the tune of 102-85. The Stars are led by the sharp shooting Kalya McBride, the former Irish player is capable of getting hot and taking over a game at any time. Her backcourt mate Danielle Robinson is a player that warrants attention as well. The Stars are a fairly young team, with most of their players having less than five years experience in the league. Sophia Young-Malcolm, Jia Perkins, and Jayne Appel being the exceptions. The pace of this game should be up tempo as the Stars like to run and score, they’ve been averaging 88 points per contest in the last three.
San Antonio will have their hands full with a Mystics team that seems to be hitting on all cylinders at the moment. The biggest challenge for Mike Thibault’s Washington Mystics is the handling of minutes. With Kia Vaughn returning last game, Washington showed off a fully healthy roster. There are three of last year’s starting lineup coming off of the bench, giving the Mystics two starting caliber lineups. With Ivory Latta fully embracing her role as a super sub, it’s imperative that the Stars second unit be ready to deal with the firepower coming off Washington’s bench. It’s hard enough that they’ll have to take on the All-Star front court of Emma Meeseman and Stefanie Dolson without Danielle Adams who’s been suspended for a violation of the league’s anti-drug program. That size would have been nice to throw at the three headed monster of Meesseman, Vaughn, and Dolson.
This should make for an entertaining game as both teams like to really push the ball and put pressure on opposing defenses. The Natasha Cloud- Kayla McBride matchup should be fun, as well as the Lawson-Robinson matchup. There will also be the question as to how the Stars plan to defend Washington’s bigs, do they double or leave them be?? Seattle tried to play the Mystics offense honestly without the trapping and they found themselves down quickly and never recovered. Also, which team’s shooters are going to get going early on? Will it be McBride and the Stars or Lawson, Latta, and Hill? Let’s take a look at what the Mystics have to do to ensure their streak continues and they leave San Antonio with a victory.
Keys to a Mystics Win
- 2nd Unit. Washington was able to keep the pace and pressure on Seattle all game because of their powerful second unit. The 2nd unit isn’t even playing up to their potential, there are three 2- point per a
- Limit turnovers. The Mystics were spectacular in their last win because for much of the game, they took care of the ball. Which gave Washington extra possessions as the game went on. More importantly, the Mystics were efficient with those possessions
- Efficiency/Execution. In the win over Seattle, the Mystics were locked in on both ends of the floor early on and it showed through their execution, at one point they shot 72% at one point during the game
- Take McBride out of the equation. If Washington wants to keep the crowd out of the game, limit McBride’s touches. Force her to make plays for others
- Keep bigs involved on offense. This is a key point because there are time in games where the perimeter players occasionally forget to get the bigs involved. That’s usually when the offense tends to run off track
- Run, run, run. Just that simple, Washington is special when they push the pace and dictate the tempo. With their depth they are able to maintain that pace, no matter who the primary and secondary ball-handler. The Mystics are downright scary when they are able to get out and run, run, run