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Injury-plagued Sparks look to regroup vs. Mystics

Sportsnaut
Sep 7, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; The WNBA logo on a ball during the fourth quarter of game one of the WNBA finals between the Seattle Storm and the Washington Mystics at KeyArena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Mystics and the Los Angeles Sparks both won three of their last four games before the All-Star Break.

But the Mystics are in better shape as the teams return to action against each other on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

Fifth-place Washington (14-10) rolled to an 85-66 victory in Atlanta in its last game July 6. The seventh-place Sparks (10-12) were missing five injured players for a 106-69 home loss to Seattle in their last game July 7.

The Mystics’ Elena Delle Donne scored a season-high 26 points (making 10-for-17 field-goal attempts) and had eight rebounds against Atlanta.

“We have such a solid team,” Delle Donne said. “We’ve got really good scorers, and we know that no one really has to force much. You can always find that next person and knock the shot down. So it’s fun to play in an offense like that.”

Delle Donne has been eased back into action as she returns from a two-season absence due to a back injury.

But Washington coach Mike Thibault said Delle Donne’s restrictions will be eased as the team enjoys a lighter schedule down the stretch. The Mystics matched the WNBA-high of 24 games played before the break. They have 12 more games and seven of the final 10 will be at home.

“If we take advantage of it, the schedule comes back to help us,” Thibault said.

In its last game, Los Angeles was missing Kristi Tolliver (calf), Chennedy Carter (knee), Brittney Sykes (health and safety protocols), Rae Burrell (knee) and Chiney Ogwumike (knee), whose absence wasn’t known until hours before the loss to Seattle.

“We left a lot of points inside the locker room and it hurt,” Sparks interim head coach Fred Williams.

Guard Jordin Canada said the Sparks “obviously want to be better” than their record, but she added that the break would be useful in allowing the players to focus on “resting, doing what we can to regroup.”

–Field Level Media