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Mystics vs. Liberty preview: Washington hosts New York on Thursday night

Tayler Hill of the Washington Mystics dribbles the ball against Sugar Rodgers of the New York Liberty Stewart W. Small

The Washington Mystics (9-5) face off with the New York Liberty (7-5) Thursday evening.

Where and When The Verizon Center, Thursday, June 29, 7 p.m. ET.

Streaming ESPN3, Monumental Network, MSG.

The Mystics are currently third in the overall standings, while the Liberty occupy fourth.

What to look out for

Tina Charles is having another terrific season, averaging just about one point more than Elena Delle Donne, at 20.5 versus 19.8. Charles is also almost averaging 10 rebounds a game, while the Mystics Krystal Thomas leads the team with 7.4.

Epiphanny Prince is back from the EuroBasket tournament where she played as a naturalized player for Russia, and is leading the team with 3.7 assists per game.

The Mystics are coming off a blistering win over the Seattle Storm on Tuesday afternoon. They had a commanding performance, winning 100-70.

So commanding that Elena Delle Donne came out of the game with 25 points and 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, and she did not come back in, the bench were able to maintain the 30 point lead. That was an encouraging sign.

This will be Washington’s first of three games against New York, and the only home game. Clearly, this will be another test of whether the Mystics are capable of playing the defense necessary to stop the former MVP in Charles, and maintain their focus they way they did over the last two winning contests for four quarters.

A couple of comparisons worth noting is that the Mystics are third in rebound percentage and the Liberty are fourth.

The Mystics are ninth in the association scoring points in the paint, and the Liberty are sixth.

Finally, and possibly most importantly, Washington’s bench scoring is third against all other teams, and New Yorks’ is dead last, twelth. That should be the deciding factor to get the Mystics an important win against a very real rival.

This is a reunion game, also. Bria Hartley and Kia Vaughn return to Washington for the first time since they were traded last February.


Here is Coach Thibault talking with Dan Nolan about the team and match-up.