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Mystics vs. Mercury preview: Washington goes for second straight win over Phoenix

The Washington Mystics (16-11) take on the Phoenix Mercury (14-13) Friday night. The Mystics are still in the fourth spot in the association, and this game won’t change that, but they need a win keep from heading into a downward spiral.

Where and When Capital One Arena, Washington D.C. Friday, August 18, 7 p.m ET.

Streaming NBATV, Monumental Network, WNBA League Pass

Injuries Elena Delle Donne is still recovering from hand surgery and won’t be back until the end of the month, and Tayler Hill is out for the season.

Well, the Mystics basically have one known quantity at this point without Elena Delle Donne: Emma Meesseman. She is averaging 19 points, 7.8 rebounds and four assists over the last five games. So needless to say, just like the Sparks figured out in their beat-down last game, double-triple team her and let the chips fall on the rest of the team.

This is where any analysis becomes dicey.

Who will step up?

I don’t know if it is good news or bad, but it could be literally anyone.

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt had two 17 point games in the last five, but had a total of 13 points in the other three contests. So who knows who shows up.

Kristi Toliver has averaged 15.4 points and 3.6 assists over the last five games, but she disappeared against the Sparks. It really hurt the Mystics. She must play like an All Star against Phoenix for them to have a chance.

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough has definitely shown up, scoring 16 and 13 points in her last two games as a starter. The rookie seems to have heard Coach Thibault loud and clear: Be Aggressive. While everyone is focused on Meesse, she has taken advantage of the defense, for sure.

Ivory Latta has scored a TOTAL of 24 points in the last five games, including a bagel against the Sparks. The Mystics need WAY more from her to win anything.

Krystal Thomas has grabbed 70 rebounds in the last five contests, averaging a massive 14 per game. But again, against the Sparks, five rebounds was no where near enough.

Natasha Cloud has scored 22 points in the last five games, including zero points in the last two. Please Cloud 9, we need you to score SOMETHING.

Brittney Griner is back in the lineup for the Mercury, so everyone will have to focus on her. And that in and of itself is a problem for the Mystics, and frankly, anyone. She is finally having an MVP-type season, so that is discouraging.

Leak Advisory: Be on the lookout!

According to the Capital Weather Gang of The Washington Post, there will be scattered thunderstorms Thursday (that’s today) AND Friday, most likely during the afternoon to evening hours. The weather’s humid and hot in D.C. When you couple that with sunny morning and early afternoon skies, they help pave the way for storms.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what hour storms fall, so we can’t say “YES, RAIN DELAY IMMINENT!” But heavy downpours and an unreliable roof certainly put us on notice. To be fair to Monumental Sports, they’re working on fixing the roof and replacing it (sorry if it sounds like a political slogan). Maybe the quick fix was already made. But given what we’ve seen lately, we gotta have a weather report now.

By the way, I was there last Saturday for the last rain delay, and I cannot stress enough how fun it was!

And just for kicks

Remember this bad-ass screen happened the last time they met?


Of course, Emma, Diana Taurasi and Kristi Toliver all play on UMMC Ekaterinburg in the ‘off season’, so this was just a gentle hello from DT to Meesse, below.

Finally, the Mystics auction for Breast Health Awareness is going on right now! I want Meesse’s signed shoes, but I am on a