A Weekend Against the West

June 24 Game Info

Verizon Center | 7pm | TV: Monumental Sports Network | #MysticsMercury Tickets

Probable Starters

Mystics (7-7): G – Cloud, G – Hill, F – Ruffin-Pratt, F – Meesseman, C – Dolson

Mercury (4-9): G – Taurasi, G – Taylor, F – Dupree, F – Petrovic, C – Griner

 

June 26 Game Info 

Verizon Center | 4pm | TV: Monumental Sports Network | #MysticsLynx Tickets

Probable Starters

Mystics (7-7): G – Cloud, G – Hill, F – Ruffin-Pratt, F – Meesseman, C – Dolson

Lynx (13-0): G – Whalen, G – Augustus, F – Moore, F – Brunson, C – Fowles

 

Picking Up Steam

After a sluggish start to the season, the Mystics have rallied, winning three straight and five of their last six and now sit at .500 (7-7) entering the weekend.

The Mystics began the year 0-5 at home, but have now won their last two at Verizon Center, thanks in part to their lock down defense.  In their last two home wins, they have allowed just 63.5 points per game and in Wednesday’s win, held the Fever to just 38% shooting and forced 18 turnovers.

“We’re playing really good team defense, which is something we hung our hat on last year, but we just weren’t good the first few weeks.  But now, we’re defending better, we’re holding teams down a little bit, cutting our turnovers down, and when you do that and get to the free-throw line on top of it, it makes thing a little easier. If you make people take tough contested shots, you don’t give them a lot of second shots, and you get them in foul trouble at the other end, it’s becoming a good formula for us, but we have to be consistent about it,” said head coach Mike Thibault.

That defense will be up against it as they welcome two of the top offenses this weekend, beginning with the Phoenix Mercury on Friday night.

Mercury Struggling

After winning 20 games last year and losing in the Western Conference Finals, the Mercury enter Friday night’s game losers of three straight and sit at 4-9 in the Western Conference.  With Diana Taurasi back this year, they were expected to compete for another WNBA title, but as we approach the midway point of the season, they currently would not even qualify for the postseason.

The Mercury have had no trouble scoring the ball, as they lead the WNBA in points per game (86.8), but they’ve really struggled on the defensive end, allowing a league-high 89.1 points per game.  They’ve allowed over 100 points in their last two losses.

Pace Will Be Key

The Mystics enter Friday night 11th in pace at 76.6 possessions per 40 minutes, while the Mercury enter 2nd at 83.9 possessions per 40 minutes. While head coach Mike Thibault won’t want his side to be any less aggressive, they’ll need to be smart in how they dictate tempo, which could mean slowing down the game.

Despite their record, the Mercury still are loaded with talent and will certainly test the Mystics stringent defense.

Lynx Chasing History 

The Minnesota Lynx have taken a similar route to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.  They won the title last year and that hasn’t seemed to be satisfy their side as they have started gotten off to a WNBA record 13-0 start.  They’ll play the Sparks on Friday night, but should they beat them again, they’ll enter Sunday’s game undefeated.

Like Phoenix, they have a dangerous offensive attack loaded with stars, but where they differ is on the defensive side, as Minnesota ranks second in the WNBA in team defense.

The Mystics played them tough when they were here a few weeks ago, outscoring the Lynx in the first, second, and fourth quarters.  But, it was the 23-8 Minnesota run in the third quarter that doomed the Mystics on that night.  The ‘Stics beat this Lynx team twice last season, so expect Sunday’s tilt to be another good one at Verizon Center.

That action tips at 4pm.