The Washington Mystics sit at 3-2 on the year, good enough for second place in the Eastern Conference. They trail the Chicago Sky by just 1.5 games and are currently on a two game win streak. The next 48 hours will certainly be interesting as the Mystics have a back-to-back against two Eastern Conference foes, they play the Sun in Connecticut tonight and come home to D.C. to host the Fever tomorrow night. Will the win streak continue so Washington can gain more ground on the Sky or will they fall in the standings?
The Connecticut Sun are currently dead last in the Eastern Conference with a record of 2-5. On average, their opponents have bested them in every statistical category this season. The Sun really struggle to shoot the ball from deep, just 21% from downtown this season. While all of this sounds like “doom and gloom”, there have been a few bright spots this season. None brighter than Rookie forward Chiney Ogwumike, she just earned the WNBA Rookie of the Month title for the month of May. If her first month’s production is any indication on the rest of the season, Ogwumike will be cornerstone for this franchise. Chiney is averaging 17.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. Connecticut has lost several close games to very good teams, it’s not as if they are getting blown out every night. They have to improve their level of play as a whole, from defense to offense. If they wish to get on the right track, they have to do a better job moving the ball on offense and playing better defense. It’s hard to win games when you don’t shoot well and can’t stop the other team from shooting well.
The Indiana Fever will be visiting the Verizon Center tomorrow night to play the Mystics. The Fever are 3-3 on the year and sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Indiana is a very tough team, they really get after teams on the defensive end. They do most of their damage in the passing lanes, averaging 11.5 steals a game. One area in which the Fever must improve is on the glass, only one player averages more than six rebounds a game. Their defense keeps them in games, offensively they struggle to shoot the ball (39%). The Liberty’s Tina Charles said “They aren’t the most talented team, but they play very hard” earlier this season. Charles was right, the Fever are a team no one enjoys facing because of how hard they play. Opponents can ill afford to relax against Indiana, especially now as they’re on a three game win streak. Keep in mind, all this has been done without star forward Tamkia Catchings who has yet to play this season (overseas).
The Washington Mystics have now won two in a row, they are still flirting around with the starting lineup. Although, the unit that finished off the Sparks in triple overtime looked to have worked well. That specific lineup being Ivory Latta, Bria Hartley, Jelena Milovanovic, Emma Meeseeman, and Stefanie Dolson. It will be interesting to see what lineup Coach Thibault rolls out tonight and tomorrow, will they be the same or will the tinkering continue?
Heres what the Mystics must do to win each game, first against the Sun and then against the Fever.
Keys vs the Sun
- Win the rebounding battle, there’s no coincidence that the Mystics have won every game they won the battle on the glass
- Get the bigs involved early
- Limit fouls, WAS commits a ton of unnecessary fouls
- Start fast, in every win the WAS bench has out produced the starting unit
- Keep Ogwumike off the glass, wall off the paint similar to last two wins
- Set GOOD screens, offense runs much smoother
Keys vs the Fever
- Protect the ball, Fever’s offense lives off turnovers
- Win the rebounding battle
- Match Indiana’s intensity
- Start fast, can’t rely on the bench EVERY night
- Get bigs involved, opens things up for shooters
- Set GOOD screens