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Mystics at Sparks preview: Washington continues road trip against L.A. on Sunday

Stewart W. Small

The Washington Mystics (9-10) will head west to take on the association leading (17-1) Los Angeles Sparks, at the Staples Center, on Sunday evening.

Game Info

When: Sunday, July 10th, 2016 at 7 p.m. EST
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California.
TV: WNBA League Pass, TWC SN / TWC D.

Injury Report

Both teams should be good to go.

Keys to the Game

The Mystics did not win the initial contest between these two teams on May 20th. In fact, they were run out of the Verizon Center, 97-67. The most outstanding stats from that game were the Mystics' 21 turnovers and the Sparks' six blocked shots.

What has been disconcerting to me, is that the Mystics are last in the association in fast break. It is not not surprising if you watch games. Time after time, you will see a steal/block/turn by the opponent and watch a Mystics player run down the court and either get a foul called or turn it over. There have been a finite number of instances when said player slows down and uses their trailer for a basket. Hill clearly uses it as an opportunity to get to the free throw line, but as of late, I have seen her stop acknowledging her much taller trailer on the fast break, and not coincidentally, the Styx have played poorly, losing to the Sky by two and the woeful Stars by seven in their last contest.

The LA Sparks are sitting at the top of the Western Conference.

Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker are both having MVP type seasons. They are averaging 35 points and 15 rebounds between the two of them. This is where we will see if Tierra Ruffin-Pratt's defensive prowess has kicked in this season. I have mentioned her offensive drought this year, so this is the time and place for her to show her value to the team.

In the Mystics last contest, against the Stars, everyone shot poorly. It was an off night for pretty much everyone not named Kia Vaughn or Stef Dolson. I actually think that is encouraging in this scenario, because it is unlikely that Meesseman will shoot under 50 percent two games in a row, and that as a team they will shoot 28 percent from three.

Who Wins?

Could the Mystics steal this one? Yes. If everyone is shooting the way they have from time-to-time, lights out, and play defense they way they have from time-to-time, smothering, they can beat anyone in the association.

But they will most definitely have to bring their A+ game against this team. Even if the Sparks 'over-look' this game, they can still almost mail it in and get a win in front of their home crowd. They are that good, and loaded, top to bottom.

I think they could have this one, but the Styx will have to come exceptionally determined and focused if they expect to put a dent in the Sparks near-perfect season.