The Mystics (9-10) had a habit early this season of beating weaker teams and losing to stronger ones. Now they hope that trend has reversed. Of course, eventually they hope to win consistently against all teams. But they can worry about playing better against weaker teams later because their next two games are against Chicago and L.A. who have a combined record of 24-11.
The good news for the Mystics is that they beat the Sky the last time they faced them on July 24, right before the All-Star break. They looked like they were going to suffer their first loss by more than 15 points in that game before coming back from down 21 to win. It was arguably their biggest win of the season.
The only other win that could be in the running was the their win over the WNBA-best Minnesota Lynx. That win and the win over the Sky are the Mystics’ only two victories over winning teams this year and both came at home. If Washington is to beat Chicago on the road Friday night they are going to have to really step it up a notch. The Mystics lost to the Sky, 89-85, in Chicago on July 10, making them 1-1 against the Sky so far this season with three more games to go.
From the Sky’s perspective, Friday’s game is going to be about revenge. They’d probably like to think that if their star rookie Elena Delle Donne had been able to play in the fourth quarter on July 24 that they would have defeated the Mystics. Delle Donne suffered a concussion late in the third that caused her to miss the rest of that game as well as the All-Star Game, which was particularly meaningful because she was the first WNBA rookie ever to lead All-Star voting. Now she will be itching to get back, but it is unclear if she will be ready to go.
The Mystics will still have their hands full with Sylvia Fowles and Epiphanny Prince either way however. Both were also selected as All-Stars from the Sky. Fowles in particular has played phenomenal against Washington this season, averaging 23.5 points and 13.5 rebounds over the two games.
Once again the Mystics are faced with an opportunity to beat Chicago and get back to .500. The question is whether they can continue to pull that off against a great team like the Sky.