The New York Liberty and Washington Mystics will be battling for the rights to second place in the Eastern Conference tomorrow morning. The Liberty have won their last two games, putting them at 6-4. The Mystics are coming off possibly their worst shooting half in franchise history last week against the Fever. While it’d be crazy for Washington to have that horrible of a shooting night two games in a row, they still have to be ready for the Liberty.
New York’s been getting healthier and healthier as the season’s gone on. They get a big piece to their team back as Epiphany Prince will make her season debut as a member of the New York Liberty, she was in Europe competing in Eurobasket. She played her first five seasons of her WNBA career in Chicago, a native New Yorker, she’s happy to play for her city. She was a part of the big trade that led to Cappie Pondexter going home to play for Chicago, Prince has averaged 14 points per game for her career. She’ll be a welcome addition to a Liberty team looking for scoring from the perimeter so they can have more balance with their strong front court.
The Mystics will have their hands full as the Liberty are now a more complete team with the addition of Prince. It goes without saying that Washington will have to deal with Tina Charles, the outstanding big is averaging 15 points and nine rebounds. Essence Carson played a role in their last meeting, as she was the lone member of the Liberty able to get going on the offensive end. New York has to make sure it’s balanced offensively as Washington has the size to matchup with their front court, that’s where Prince will play a huge role. It’ll be her first game of the year, so she could struggle or she might be fine after getting several days of practice in. An x-factor for New York is their rookie guard Brittany Boyd, when assertive she has the ability to take almost anyone in the league off the dribble. That may be needed to open things up for the bigs this game.
The Mystics made a roster move during their time off, as the waived Kayla Thorton and added veteran LaToya Sanders. She was drafted in the first round in 2008, she’s spent the last five season playing in Turkey averaging 16.7 points and 8.4 rebounds. It’s easily conceivable that she’ll get playing time in tomorrow’s game, Coach Thibault has showed that he believes in the depth his team has and will continue to use it.
For Washington, this will be an opportunity to see how mentally tough they are. An abysmal shooting performance could hinder a team or create doubt, the Mystics have a bevy of shooters and this shouldn’t be a problem as they all seem confident in their abilities. They just have to get back to playing their brand of basketball, two games ago, they played possibly their most complete game of the season. They were rolling on both ends of the floor, so it can be done.
The Mystics should come out and get Emma Meesseman going early, the frontcourt of her and Stefanie Dolson played a huge role in their last victory over the Liberty. For the shooters, just keep shooting. The Mystics have to try and replicate their last defensive performance against the Liberty in their last meeting.
Ivory Latta, Kara Lawson, and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt may come out to set the tone early on either end of the floor, especially with the game being at home. The Mystics can ill afford to slip down the standings, they are currently just one game behind the East leading Connecticut Sun. This next stretch of games is important, if Washington can go 2-1 or 3-0 they may be sitting in first place. It all starts with tomorrow’s game against New York, game starts bright and early.