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Mystics at Stars preview: Washington goes for second straight “must-win” game

WNBA All-Star Game 2014 Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After a commanding 92-69 victory against the Indiana Fever on Saturday night, the Mystics return Sunday with a home game against the San Antonio Stars. The Mystics are currently on the playoff bubble, vying for the 8th seed. The margin for error is small from here on out, so taking care of business against the five-win Stars would go a long way.

Game Info

Where: The Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
When: Sunday, August 27 at 7:00 p.m.

Injury Report

For the Mystics, Bria Hartley and Tianna Hawkins will both miss the rest of the season (and Hawkins was waived to open up a roster spot). The Stars are missing Kayla McBride and Danielle Robinson, and Alex Montgomery is listed as doubtful.

Is San Antonio good?

Not really, no. While not yet mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, their 5-19 record is the worst in the league. Given the way the standings currently fall, the Stars are one of the few teams that I am confident won’t steal the 8th seed.

But the Mystics would be unwise to sleep on them. Rookie point guard Moriah Jefferson is arguably more talented than any of the Mystics’ backcourt players. Also, unlike the Mystics, they won’t be on the second game of a back-to-back.

Keys to the game

First, the Mystics need to contain Jefferson. Though she played more as a pass-first point guard while at the University of Connecticut, Jefferson is the second-leading scorer for the Stars. Her speed and her handle allow her to slice to the rim with ease, and she is shooting 45 percent from three on over two attempts per game. On top of that, she is dishing four assists per game, 9th best in the league. Neither Ivory Latta or Leilani Mitchell are known for their defense, so the rest of the team will need to be ready to help.

Second, the Mystics’ frontcourt needs to dominate. Emma Meesseman, Stefanie Dolson, Sanders and Kia Vaughn should have no problems on either end of the floor against a post rotation of Jayne Appel, Kayla Alexander, Dearica Hamby and Astou Ndour. Look for the Mystics to dump the ball down low early and often.