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Mystics vs. Sparks preview: A three-game homestand ends on Friday

Stewart W. Small

On Friday night, the Mystics end their three-game home-stand against the Candace Parker led Los Angeles Sparks. They will also be looking for their first win of the season.

Game Info

When: Friday, May 20, 2016, at 7 p.m. EST

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.

TV: Monumental Sports Network and WNBA League Pass.

Injury Report

The Mystics will be missing Ivory Latta, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, Ally Mallot to injury. They will also miss LaToya Sanders to overseas commitments.

How good are the Sparks?

I put together this comparison of how both teams are executing in relationship to the other ten teams in the Association. The LA Sparks are leading in four advanced statistical categories very early in the season. After two games, you can clearly see we are middling at best.

Game 3

Mystics 0-2

LA 1-0

[Offense]

Points/Poss

8

1

Points off Tos

11

1

Points in Paint

8

1

2nd Chance Pts

7

8

Fast Brk Points

7

10

Bench Scoring

8

9

Rebound %

4

9

[Defense]

OPP Pts/Poss

9

2

OPP Pts/TOs

8

1

OPP Pts/Paint

10

7

OPP 2nd Chance

12

2

OPP FB Pts

2

6

The Mystics are better than the Sparks in some areas, notably their rebound percentage and opponents' fast break points. We are actually really good at that. Hard to notice when you are losing.

Keys to the Game

The UConn alums need to step up - I think fans want to see Stefanie Dolson catch fire, and Bria Hartley to have another standout performance like she got us all stoked for in game one.  Game two, not so much. I absolutely think she could have a terrific game against the Sparks.  If Dolson can't get going, I look for Kia Vaughn to have another solid night.  She quietly scored 12 points and 4 rebounds in the loss to the Wings.

I think Kahleah Copper will settle down over the next few games, particularly against Connecticut on Saturday. Rookie jitters have affected her ball handling, but she is definitely bringing the energy!

Who Wins?

If all goes according to plan, Meesseman and Hill will anchor the squad again.  Better defense, and getting their timing down will be essential. Even though the Mystics will have just eight to nine players available on Friday, I'll be a homer. If they beat L.A, it will be a monumental win to start the season.

Pun. Yup.