Preseason is finally over, the Washington Mystics finished at 2-1. The team got a chance to let the younger players get their feet wet, while also letting the vets get re-acclimated to the flow of the WNBA game. The combination of youth and veterans on the roster creates great depth for this year’s Mystics. After a .500 season that included making the playoffs, the challenge for Washington is whether they can build upon that success. It starts tomorrow against the reigning WNBA Champions, the Minnesota Lynx.
There’s a reason the Lynx have won two championships in the last three years, 2011 & 2013. Powered by the trio of Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus and Lindsey Whalen, the Lynx had four members of their starting five make the All-Star game. Moore & Augustus both shot over 50% from the floor last season. As a team, Minnesota does a great job of sharing the ball and knocking down open shots. They shot 47% as a team while limiting opponents to just 40%, they are also a good three point shooting team. Here’s what the Lynx must do to beat the Mystics tomorrow night:
- Continue to move the ball, they averaged 20 assists per game last season
- Win the battle on the glass, WAS has a lot of size in front court
- Get the “Big 3” going early – Moore, Augustus, Whalen
- Make Latta a distributor, limit her offensively
Washington has a bevy of bigs on their roster, which should definitely help them this season on the boards and in protecting the rim. The Mystics have six players on their roster that are at least 6’3, which means the guards should be getting great screens. Ivory Latta & Monique Currie have a lot more help this season then they did with last year’s roster, the deeper roster should give the Mystics something they desperately needed last season…bench production. In Bria Hartley, Tiana Hawkins, Stefanie Dolson, Jelana Milovanovic & Kayla Thorton, Washington should get a nice consistent spark from their second unit all season long. That being said, here’s the keys for the Mystics to beat the reigning champions tomorrow:
- Perimeter Defense is priority number one, must slow down the Lynx “Big 3”
- Finish defensive possessions off with the ball, must win the battle on glass on both ends of the floor
- Get Vaughn, Lawson, Currie going early
- Bench must contribute
- Take advantage of size difference, WAS has the bigger front court. Get the ball inside whenever possible
Who do you think will win tomorrow’s game between the Mystics & the Lynx?? Share your thoughts in the comments below. We’ll have the recap and post game interviews on Saturday!!
Stats from WNBA.com