Before getting to the recap, thoughts for Indiana Fever guard Tiffany Mitchell who recently lost her father.
After starting the 2020 season a scorching 3–0, tonight’s 91–84 loss to the Fever marks the fourth straight game the Mystics have dropped.
After taking a hard foul — which should have been a flagrant — against the Liberty on Friday, Aerial Powers missed tonight’s game with an injury to her right hip. Washington desperately missed her 16.3 points, 2.4 assists and 46.4 field goal percentage. With Powers out, rookie guard Kiara Leslie got the start.
A strong first quarter saw the Mystics up 28–25. Washington shot well as a team (56-percent from the field and 60-percent from three) and Emma Meesseman was on fire working against rookie Lauren Cox.
Where the game really started to get away from the Mystics was in the second quarter. The team shot an abysmal 17-percent from the field; they simply couldn’t hit a shot. A cold streak also saw the Mystics shoot 20-percent from three. Despite holding an early lead in the game, by halftime, the Mystics were down 52 – 39.
As the second half began, Myisha Hines-Allen made two quick baskets and the Mystics looked like they might make something of the affair. That, however, quickly fizzled. More poor shooting and some careless defending led to Washington trailing 57–70 after three.
The Mystics came within four of the Fever late in the fourth, but that was as close as they would get. As the game wound down, both teams traded free throws, with Washington never truly challenging Indiana’s lead. Credit to Indiana though, their offense was clicking. Kelsey Mitchell led the offense putting up 29 points, while Tiffany Mitchell had 14 and Julie Allemand had 13.
Another loss generated more questions and frustrations for this Washington team. In the first three games of the season, the Mystics shot 42-percent from three, but have only managed 31-percent from behind the arc since.
Too often in tonight’s game, the Mystics lost their mark on defense and fell for pump fakes. Indiana got them in the air, which led to fouls or passes that sliced through the Washington defense. Double-double machine Teaira McCowan (15 points, 11 rebounds) had her way in the paint and the Mystics settled for far too many contested shots. Disorganization on defense combined with a failure to make open shots (the team shot 38-percent from the field) ultimately led to Washington’s fourth loss.
Most of the players who usually generate offense for the Mystics had quiet nights. Meesseman led the way with 19 points, but 17 of those came in the first half (she also added three assists). Ariel Atkins, who missed portions of the game with an ankle injury, had nine points, four assists and shot 25-percent from the field.
Hines-Allen similarly had a difficult night, putting up eleven points, six rebounds and four turnovers, while Leilani Mitchell had 14 points and five assists.
One of the lone bright spots tonight was Tianna Hawkins. After missing the first several games and taking some time to find her shooting stroke, Hawkins had 17 points, 10 rebounds and was 45-percent from the field. No other Mystics player eclipsed six points.
While a four-game skid is disheartening, this team is excellently coached and has veteran players who will keep fighting. You can bet the Mystics will surely snap out of their current losing funk.
The Mystics’ next game is on Tuesday August 11 at 9 p.m. ET against the Minnesota Lynx and will be televised on ESPN2.