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Mystics vs. Liberty preview: Washington returns home for a matinee

Stewart W. Small

The Washington Mystics (9-13) are at home to host the Eastern Conference leading (17-7) New York Liberty on a camp day Wednesday, at 11:30 in the morning.

Game Info

When: Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 11:30 a.m. EST.

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.

TV: WNBA League Pass, Monumental, MSG.

Injury Report

Both teams should be good to go.

Keys to the Game

The Mystics lost the first meeting between the two teams, literally the first game of the season. May 14th, 87-76. Meesseman deplaned from Belgium 6 days prior and had her worst shooting game of the season. One for seven. Four for four from the line, her only non-double figure game.

The most notable difference between the two teams at this point in the season, in the Styx favor, is that they have six players who have hit more than 10 three pointers. The Liberty have one, Sugar Rodgers. But she has made SIXTY-EIGHT of 153 attempts, for 44 percent. Next most proficient, is Tina Charles who has hit 9-of-28. Seems like a bit of a scouting report..ahem.

The Mystics players with over ten made three point shots - Meesse, Hill , Latta, Hartley, Cloud, Hawkins - have executed 130-of-340 collective attempts at 38 percent. And I expect SOMEONE to get going.

The main match-up is Meesseman vs. Charles

I have compiled some advanced stats to compare the two, below. Meesseman shoots more efficiently, and Charles is used more, besides that, it is a toss-up. This match-up is interesting, but it isn't the story of the game.

The real issue is the rest of the team

After sustaining a 0-5 road trip, I think it is worth pointing out who has been contributing on offense for the Mystics. Meesseman cannot win a game by herself if everyone is shooting really poorly.

So I thought it made sense to look at a comparison of the players by points per minute [PPM]. Offense has been a total struggle over the past month, so I have put together the actual points per minute of each player, with the starters in bold. And added the last seven games sorted by PPM, below.

Points Per Minute
22 Games Last 7 Games Avg
Meesse 0.51 16.8 0.62
Weisner 0.52 1.7 0.52
Hill 0.5 12.5 0.48
Copper 0.34 6.2 0.44
Dolson 0.36 7.4 0.41
Latta 0.42 6.8 0.40
Hartley 0.38 4.5 0.36
Hawkins 0.44 5.5 0.36
Malott 0.25 3.5 0.33
Vaughn 0.3 6.5 0.29
Cloud 0.27 5.7 0.25
TRP 0.22 4.2 0.20

But it also seems relevant to discern who is doing the heavy lifting and who is on vacay over the last seven game stretch by showing the actual amount of points the players have scored and their averages over the games the Mystics' went 2-for-5, sorted by total points scored, below.

Pts Min Avg 7 Gms Last 7PPM SeasonPPM
Meesse 118 190 16.8 0.62 0.51
Hill 88 183 12.5 0.48 0.50
Dolson 52 126 7.4 0.41 0.36
Latta 48 121 6.8 0.40 0.42
Vaughn 46 159 6.5 0.29 0.30
Copper 44 101 6.2 0.44 0.34
Cloud 40 158 5.7 0.25 0.27
Hawkins 39 109 5.5 0.36 0.44
Hartley 32 89 4.5 0.36 0.38
TRP 30 153 4.2 0.20 0.22
Malott 25 75 3.5 0.33 0.25
Weisner 12 23 1.7 0.52 0.52

Albert certainly pointed out that no one showed up for the Storm game, but I beg to differ. This is the kind of effort that the whole team needed to exhibit, not just Meesseman who managed a double-double.

#Meesseman Give me the ball!! #Wnba Boom!

A video posted by Elle (@ellelovesbb_) on

Who Wins?

I am also aware that some people think that Meesseman taking fewer shots than Dolson over the course of a game is ridiculous. But I think of it as showing confidence in your teammate. Stay the course with your people.

It can go either way of course, but considering the Mystics shooting percentages, it is going to be double and triple teams on Meesseman here on out, daring the rest of the team to execute. So showing trust in teammates can only help in the long run. #RideorDie

I think that there may be some re-working of the line-up before the Olympic break, just because Coach T can. Kahleah Copper and Tianna Hawkins have done enough in my opinion to see starter minutes. The Styx have nothing to lose but yet another game, this time at home.

***

Albert has pointed out Meesseman's shooting efficiency from distance. Here is her shooting up against Charles, below.