Earning a much-needed victory left the Washington Mystics confident about pushing the reset button on their season, while the Minnesota Lynx also will chase a fresh perspective a dozen games into the season.
The visiting Mystics aim to win consecutive games for the first time in three weeks Friday night against the Lynx.
Washington (8-5) opened the season 5-1, then lost four of six. Following consecutive losses to the New York Liberty and Chicago Sky, the Mystics pulled out an 84-82 victory in their Wednesday rematch with the Sky.
The Mystics led by as many as 17 points Wednesday, then showed some mettle to prevail without star Elena Delle Donne (15.8 points per game), who left early with lower-back tightness.
“We’re still working. We’re going to continue to get better,” said Washington guard Natasha Cloud, who broke an 82-82 tie with two free throws Wednesday.
“This is a huge win for us. We’re gonna take it. This is the start of our new season.”
Though the Mystics are unsure about Delle Donne’s immediate status, they appear in good position to win consecutive games for the first time since May 17-20. Among the league’s top defenses, the Mystics allow 75.4 points per game, and they will try to score at least 80 for a third straight contest.
Washington also aims for a second consecutive victory at Minnesota (3-9) in 2022.
Ariel Atkins, averaging 17.3 points in the last four games, scored 20 and Cloud added 19 as the Mystics outscored the Lynx 23-4 in the second quarter to win 78-66 on May 8.
Minnesota has dropped three of four after shooting 32.8 percent from the field and 3 of 22 from 3-point range during an 88-69 loss at New York on Tuesday. It’s the second time this season that the Lynx were held to fewer than 70 points.
“I’ve had a lot of teams that maybe you could go: ‘You know what, let’s just try to outscore them.’ And, probably win,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “This is not that team.”
Minnesota’s Kayla McBride had a team-high 13 points Tuesday after averaging 19.0 in the previous three games. McBride did not face Washington last month, when teammate Jessica Shepard posted 16 points and 12 rebounds.
–Field Level Media