The Mystics host the Atlanta Dream on Sunday afternoon, in the first of three meetings between these teams.
Though it’s still early, the Dream have been a surprising success story to start the season, going 4-1 despite missing their star player, Angel McCoughtry. They rely heavily on All Star guard Tiffany Hayes, and only go about six players deep. Though both teams start the year with similar records and similar net ratings, based on talent and depth the Mystics should have a large advantage.
Where and When: Verizon Center, Washington, D.C. Sunday June 4 at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Streaming: WNBA League Pass, Monumental Network.
What to watch for
Who controls the pace?
In many ways, the Mystics and Dream are stylistic opposites: The Mystics rely on deliberate ball movement to find open three point shooters, leading the league in both three point attempts and percentage of points scored behind the arc. The Dream like to run, using their athleticism and stingy defense to fuel transition offense. Neither team turns the ball over much, but the Mystics will struggle to keep up with the Dream in transition off of missed shots. They should be able to limit Atlanta’s transition opportunities by keeping them off the boards (the Mystics currently lead the league in offensive rebounding), but if the Mystics can’t clean up some of their own misses it could get ugly fast.
Sancho Lyttle vs Elena Delle Donne
Though not as quick as she once was, Lyttle is one of the savviest defenders in the WNBA. At 6’4”, she is tall enough to bother Delle Donne’s shot, strong enough to take her in the post, and smart enough to strip the ball away if Delle Donne tries to take her off the dribble. Lyttle is averaging a league-best 2.6 steals so far this season.