Wed, 27 Sep 2023

Mystics seek hot finish against ice-cold Fever

Field Level Media
12 Aug 2022, 04:19 GMT+10

Perhaps a final home-and-home set with the last-place Indiana Fever will help the Washington Mystics get back on track and build momentum for the playoffs.

Looking to avoid a season-high third straight defeat, the Mystics can extend the Fever's franchise-record losing skid to 17 games on Friday night in Indianapolis.

Fifth-place Washington (20-14) is locked into an opening-round playoff date with Seattle. A pair of wins over the lowly Fever (5-29) this weekend, plus two losses by the Storm, and the Mystics would move into fourth and gain home-court advantage in that best-of-three series.

First things first, the Mystics need to regroup after losing back-to-back games -- 93-83 at Chicago and 79-76 against Los Angeles -- for the first time since late June.

"For us, it's like, 'head down, focus,'" Mystics star Elena Delle Donne told The Washington Post. "What do we need to do to be successful?"

Delle Donne averages a team-leading 16.7 points but totaled just 13 on 3-of-19 shooting in her last two contests. Teammate Ariel Atkins, who has scored at least 20 in two of the last four games, had a season-high 28 points in Washington's 87-75 win at Indiana on May 31. Delle Donne posted 21 with nine rebounds in a season-opening 84-70 home victory over the Fever on May 6.

The Mystics will be without Myisha Hines-Allen, who missed practice Wednesday and will be placed in health and safety protocol.

Indiana last won on June 19 against Chicago and has been outscored by an average margin of 14.4 points through the last 16 games. However, even without injured star Kelsey Mitchell (foot), the Fever showed plenty of fight in last Saturday's 95-91 overtime loss at Dallas.

"I'll tell you what: I love my team," interim Fever coach Carlos Knox told The Indianapolis Star. "I really love my team because (of) the resilience that they show."

Indiana has relied on the play of several rookies this season, notably NaLyssa Smith (13.8 points, 8.1 rebounds per game), who had a double-double at Washington in the opener. Meanwhile, fellow Fever rookie Lexie Hull has a combined 31 points in the last two games.

The teams meet again to wrap up the regular season on Sunday afternoon in Washington.

--Field Level Media

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