The Mystics won their first two games on the road in dramatic fashion, but since then the Verizon Center has been much friendlier to them than opposing teams’ arenas.
Washington started 0-1 at home, but is 4-1 since with the two losses coming to good teams in Atlanta and Phoenix. But every time the Mystics have put together a win streak during a home stand, they have come back down to earth once they hit the road.
That was the case on Wednesday, when the Mystics played at Chicago and had a two-game winning streak snapped, preventing them from going above .500.
The last time Washington won on the road was on June 7 at Connecticut. Of the five teams they’ve faced on the road since then, the last four all currently have winning records and the last three are three of the four best teams in the WNBA.
Head coach Mike Thibault alluded to these facts after Wednesday’s game. It is hard to be upset with a team that has battled hard on the road, but has yet to take their play to an elite level.
Fortunately for Washington, their next two games (one on the road and one at home) are both against the 4-8 San Antonio Silver Stars. San Antonio hasn’t had a winning record since June 9, but things got even worse for them when they lost star guard Becky Hammon to an ACL tear on July 6. Now, both Hammon and the Stars’ leading scorer from a year ago in Sophia Young are out for the year.
The Silver Stars won their first game after learning that Hammon was out for the year, defeating the Mercury, 88-80, in Phoenix on Wednesday. They won that game despite 22 points from Candice Dupree and 20 from Diana Taurasi because they had six players in double figures. San Antonio is going to need a team effort since their two best players will not be available to carry them.
On the other hand, the Mystics have to hope they can take care of business against a team with a worse record than them. And chances are they will. While they are 1-6 against teams that currently have winning records, they are 5-1 against teams that currently have losing records, including 2-1 on the road.
If the Mystics continue this trend of beating the teams in the bottom half, they could improve to 10-7, which would likely put them in good position in the East with one game remaining before the All-Star Game. After their next two games against the Silver Stars, Washington takes on the 4-8 Fever twice in a row.