Mystics Insider Blog – Time to get your weekly update on the Washington Mystics!

Mystics Insider Blog

Guest Contributor – Andrew Willett

The Washington Mystics continued their up-and-down play over the busiest part of their schedule, moving to 9-6. After a blistering 5-1 start, the team dropped five out of eight games. Washington suffered an overtime loss to the Phoenix Mercury after they were successful down the home stretch of the previous game against, Minnesota

During a brutal schedule of five games in nine days, the Mystics have dropped from second to fifth in the standings since May 22nd. Washington was able to get a break from the road between their two meeting with Phoenix before traveling to New York.

Offseason and Early Season Recap

Three-time Coach of the Year Mike Thibault’s squad is over a third of the way through the 36-game WNBA season. The key, coming into this season, for this roster to regain Championship contention, is health. Two-time MVP, Elena Delle Donne (EDD) has returned after nearly two years out from injuries, yet still sits out for scheduled rest games. Meanwhile, Natasha Cloud has missed two games in health and safety protocols and Alysha Clark missed seven of the team’s games.

The team is building their chemistry and finding the rotation of players that work for them this season. New additions, Kennedy Burke and Elizabeth Williams joined the team to play huge roles for the Mystics’ depth after completing their overseas obligations. The Mystics are returning Delle Donne, Cloud, Ariel Atkins, Tianna Hawkins, Myisha Hines-Allen, and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, with everyone outside of EDD playing much larger roles in 2022. But no team is complete without its rookies. The team has acquired newcomers Rui Machida and third overall draft pick, Shakira Austin.

Although there have been several line-up changes this season already, the Coach T, has proven to always have a plan. He knows how to win and how to put his teams in the best positions to win as well.

Two-Way Roster

This year’s Mystics have proven to be a supremely talented offensive team! The team has several players from their 2019 roster which recorded the highest offensive rating in the history of the WNBA at 112.9. But even with the combination of frontcourt length and mobility along with the intensity and quickness of the guards, this roster has a chance to make defense its calling card.

Washington defense, this season, holds teams to 75.9 points per game (PPG) with a defensive rating of 96.5, just below the Las Vegas Aces (96.0) and Seattle Storm (95.5), and good for fourth in the league. Look for the defense to ramp up even more as the season progresses and as the team gets more time to find their groove. Three-time All-Defensive second-team honoree Atkins, 2019 All-Defensive second-team honoree Cloud, and 2019 All-Defensive second-team and 2020 All-Defensive first-team honoree Clark all bring tenacious defense on the perimeter.

Meanwhile, frontcourt stars, Delle Donne, Hines-Allen, Hawkins, Austin, and 2020 All-Defensive first-team honoree, Williams, all bring different attributes to the Mystics’ defense. In Williams (6th, 1.2), Delle Donne (9th, 1.1), and Austin (19th, 0.9), Washington has three players in the top-20 in blocks per game. Rookie, Shakira Austin’s defense along with her athleticism and touch on the offensive end led to her becoming the team’s starting center. She has started 11 of 15 games and each of the last 10. Her first start came in Delle Donne’s absence, where Austin piled up her first double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds against Sylvia Fowles and the Minnesota Lynx.

Injury Update

With head coach Mike Thibault out in health and safety protocols for a stretch and two-time MVP Delle Donne in and out of the lineup and, it made the recent game stretch, a little difficult for the team. Following a strong start, winning five of six and seven out of 10 games, inconsistencies in the lineup caught up to the Mystics who stand at 6-3 with EDD and 3-3 without.

Since Delle Donne exited a win vs. the third-place Chicago Sky (9-4), Washington beat the bottom-dwelling Minnesota Lynx (3-11) but fell to the recovering Phoenix Mercury (5-8), tied for eighth in the standings and winners of three straight. In nine games, Delle Donne played 240 minutes compared to 366 minutes with her either on the bench or in six games she rested.

It should come as no surprise, but the Mystics improve with Elena Delle Donne who recently became the 40th player ever to score 4000 career points. The team has several key players, stepping up this season and making bigger impacts for this Mystics roster. Keeping EDD healthy with lots of rest to keep her playing her best when it matters most will still be a priority for the team going forward.

On the Bright Side

Washington made the rounds against former Mystics players facing some its latest opponents, Chicago, Minnesota, and Phoenix. The Mystics finished 2-1 in those games beating Meesseman on Chicago and Aerial Powers on Minnesota before losing to Charles and Shey Peddy on Phoenix.

Sunday, June 12, Pride Night Game resulted in a loss in overtime to the Phoenix Mercury, 99-90 loss. Despite that loss, Cloud tossed out her seventh assist to put Washington up by six with 3:56 left in regulation. If anyone had a doubt, Cloud is definitely solidifying her name on this year’s All-Star ballet.

Although the team dropped down the standings, Clark and Hines-Allen found their footing. Cloud is not the only Mystics, distributing big numbers this season; Clark scored 18 points on 7/9 shooting to give the Mystics a big lead as it held on to beat Chicago. And at Minnesota, Hines-Allen dropped 17 points with six rebounds while shooting 6.8 from the field and 3/4 from behind the arch.

All along, Atkins (15.5 PPG) leads the team in scoring after Delle Donne (15.8) and scored 19, 12 and 15 in the last three games. And Cloud who sits second in the league in assists per game at 6.9, continued her string of 17 consecutive games with 5+ assists.


With so many great performances already this season, the time has come to vote for your favorite Mystics players for the 2022 All-Star season. Players such as, Cloud, EDD, Atkins, Hines-Allen, and Clark have all been putting up exciting numbers this season. Fans can vote once a day and have until June 20th give their input and vote for this season’s All-Stars. This year’s celebration will be held in Chicago, hosted by the Sky. Now is the chance for fans to decide and give their take on which players have been dominating the court. With such a fresh roster and player back and healthy, this team only has two previous All-Stars in EDD and Ariel Atkins. But the way Tasha Cloud is dishing out assist, and Misha Hines-Allen is controlling the boards on both sides of the floor, we may have to add more people to the list soon. With June 20th, coming up soon, Mystics fans have less than a week to submit their votes for which players that want to see compete in Chicago.