The Washington Mystics and Dallas Wings will already have a second matchup in this young season when they face each other on Tuesday at the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.
The Wings handed the Mystics their first loss of the season on Friday, taking a 94-86 victory in Washington, D.C., behind 27 points from Arike Ogunbowale and 21 points from Allisha Gray.
One positive note for the Mystics in the loss was that it featured the return of Alysha Clark. The 34-year-old forward missed all of the 2021 season after suffering a foot injury while playing overseas.
In her Washington debut, Clark tallied nine points, four rebounds and an assist in 20 minutes of play.
“She’s just so diligent,” Mystics star Elena Delle Donne told the Washington Post. “Every day you see her showing up, bringing the same energy, the same focus. And there’s a lot of days and I’m sure a lot of pain and a lot of the things she was working through … Now we get to finally play. I’ve been wanting to play with AC for far too long now.”
Delle Donne has also eased back into the Mystics’ lineup this season. The former two-time MVP sat out the 2020 season due to COVID-19-related health concerns and battled a back injury last year. She’s played in three of the Mystics’ first four games this season, averaging 20 points and seven rebounds per game.
The game Delle Donne missed was Washington’s first road game, at Minnesota, due to what the team called “load management.” According to Mystics coach Mike Thibault, the plan seems to be for Delle Donne to play in Dallas against the Wings, but rest during Friday’s matchup vs. the Atlanta Dream.
While Delle Donne is a go, the Mystics listed guard Natasha Cloud as questionable for Tuesday’s game. She is returning from health and safety protocol. To bring Cloud back on the active roster, the Mystics had to release rookie Katie Benzan.
The Wings have played — and won — another game since facing the Mystics last week. Dallas topped the New York Liberty 81-71 on Sunday behind 21 points from Ogunbowale.
“I would just say that’s the way the game came to me,” Ogunbowale said. “Personally, I didn’t score much in the first half, but my team held it down.”
In her fourth pro season out of Notre Dame, Ogunbowale is averaging 18.3 points per game.
Fellow Wings guard Tyasha Harris didn’t play against the Liberty and is questionable for Tuesday’s game with an ankle injury.
–Field Level Media