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Mystics head out on a big three-game cross country road trip with major storylines

Emma Meesseman of the Washington Mystics posts up on Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm Ned Dishman, NBA/Getty Images

The Mystics are currently 1-0 in the 2017 season, but the schedule will pick up quickly this weekend as they play three games on the road over the next week. Let’s break down some of the main talking points of this road trip.

The schedule

  • Friday, May 19 at Los Angeles Sparks, 10:30 p.m. ET
  • Sunday, May 21 at Seattle Storm, 7 p.m. ET
  • Wednesday, May 24 at Chicago Sky, 12:30 p.m. ET

You can watch all the games online via WNBA League Pass, or Monumental Sports Network if you’re in the D.C. area. All of these games require a paid subscription, but Monumental Sports teams’ (Wizards/Capitals/Mystics/Valor/Brigade) season ticket holders are often able to get them with their tickets at no extra charge.

The bottom line

All three teams they Mystics played on this road trip made the 2016 playoffs. Furthermore, Washington was a combined 2-8 against the Sparks (0-3), Storm (1-2), and Sky (1-3) last season. This season, the Mystics hope to flip the script on these teams.

There will be some player reunions on this trip

The Mystics had a lot of player turnover last winter. Coincidentally, they have someone on this year’s team who was on the Sparks, Storm, or Sky in 2016.

On Friday, Kristi Toliver will return to Los Angeles, where she played from 2010-16 and won the championship with in her last year. In fact, their ring ceremony will be on Friday when Toliver’s in town. It can be streamed at 10 p.m. ET Friday on WNBA’s Twitter account. Alana Beard is one former Mystic who is on the Sparks as well. She is generally regarded as the best guard to ever play for the franchise. We’ll talk more about that in June.

The Storm game on Sunday features Krystal Thomas’ return to the Emerald City. She played sparingly in 19 games for them last year. Seattle also has Crystal Langhorne, a former long-time Mystics star who started at power forward until she was traded to Seattle in 2014 in exchange for Tianna Hawkins (who played one year in Seattle back in 2013), and Bria Hartley. I still miss her crossover.

If that wasn’t enough, the Wednesday game against the Sky has a major storyline with it. It’s Elena Delle Donne’s first time back in the Windy City as an opponent. If the WNBA had an idea that she would be playing in D.C. this season, perhaps this game would be on ESPN in prime time. But as you may have noticed, this game is a weekday matinee where school age groups of kids generally come in during lunch time. Therefore, the crowd shouldn’t be as vitriolic to Delle Donne as it otherwise could be.

It’s Emma Meesseman’s last three games before heading to Belgium for EuroBasket training

Emma Meesseman will rack up her frequent flyer miles like crazy this summer. She just traveled to Washington, presumably from Brussels Airport in Zaventem, Flemish Brabant less than two weeks ago to play ONE HOME GAME before this road trip.

Let me say it again. Meesseman played ONE HOME GAME before going on this road trip. And after that road trip, she’ll be flying to Europe once again to prepare for EuroBasket Women training.

In a nutshell, these first four games are effectively Meesseman’s WNBA training camp as she gets used to playing with Delle Donne and Toliver as Mystics teammates. Most European WNBA players who are on EuroBasket Women teams are training with their national teams. Instead of being in the friendly confines of Kortirijk in her home province of West Flanders, Meesseman is on this road trip instead.

For Belgian national team head coach Philip Mestdagh, that hurts. He wants to get the Belgians to the quarterfinals of EuroBasket, according to the Koninklijke Belgische Basketbalbond (link in Dutch). Missing Meesseman —even for practices -- doesn’t help them, just like her absence won’t help the Mystics over the next month.

Therefore, let’s be a bit sympathetic with Meesseman and appreciate that she’s playing stateside right now. She’s the definition of a pro’s pro.