The Mystics (12-14) could use a win during this extremely difficult stretch in their schedule. Even just one could be the difference between them making and missing the playoffs.
On Tuesday, Washington will try their luck against the Sky, a team that may present a more difficult task than the Dream for most, but perhaps not for the Mystics.
Washington is 1-2 against Chicago this season, with the the two losses both coming on the road and by single digits. The one win was at the Verizon Center and featured a huge comeback and, admittedly, an Elena Delle Donne-less fourth quarter. Nevertheless, that may have been the Mystics’ most impressive and important win of the first half of the season.
The Mystics have shot better than 40 percent from the field in all three of their games against the Sky and out-shot Chicago in all three. They actually shot even better in their two losses (above 45 percent). They also turned the ball over an average of just 10 times in the first two meetings, before giving it up 19 times in the third. While the Dream have brought out the worst in the Mystics, it’s almost as if the Sky have brought out the best.
However, the Mystics’ ability to battle with Chicago does not take away from the fact that the Sky are the best team in the East at 17-8. They may not have Elena Delle Donne available – she is doubtful with a foot injury – but Chicago still has All-Stars Sylvia Fowles and Epiphanny Prince. And Sylvia Fowles in particular is out to get the Mystics. Just look at her average stats vs. Washington (26.3 points, 14 rebounds and 3.3 blocks) as opposed to her stats overall (16.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks). She is already in MVP consideration, but she is running away with the award if it’s based solely on what she has done against the Mystics.
In her most recent game, Fowles recorded her second 20-20 game of the season. Both have come against Connecticut, another team she has not been kind to.
If the Mystics are to pull out a victory on Tuesday, they are going to have to prevent a superstar from playing well against them, which is never any easy task. But if they can get the win they will put themselves a full game ahead of the fourth place Fever and two full games ahead of the fifth place Liberty seeing as the bottom half of the East will be idle.