The Washington Mystics defeated the Indiana Fever, 91-56 on Saturday night in Newark, Delaware. Elena Delle Donne and Tianna Hawkins scored 15 points each while playing 11 to 12 minutes each. In addition, A.J. Alix and Monique Currie scored in double figures.
For the Fever, Kelsey Mitchell led all their scorers with nine points off the bench.
Here are some takeaways from the game.
The Mystics’ core players didn’t miss a beat
Saturday marked the debut for several key players from the Mystics’ 2017 team, including Krystal Thomas and Kristi Toliver. Both played limited minutes, but shot well from the field. If there’s a bone one has to pick with Thomas in particular, she committed five personal fouls in 13 minutes. As Ian Mahinmi-esque as that is, this is a preseason game so I’m not mad. Furthermore, Thomas isn’t playing to keep her WNBA career going. She showed her worth last season.
The Mystics need to adopt an “Everybody Eats” mentality of their own
Elena Delle Donne is John Wall’s equivalent for the Mystics. Both are their teams’ franchise players where they take most of the credit when their teams win games. They also get more scrutiny because of the roles they serve.
That said, Delle Donne and Wall don’t play the same position. While it’s possible to see a team with one franchise player win an NBA title like the 2015-16 Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s borderline impossible for a one franchise player team like the Mystics to do what the Cavaliers did. This is especially the case in an era where conferences don’t matter much anymore.
Unlike NBA teams where an elite floor general can carry a team far in the playoffs through his play, WNBA teams and their elite point guards don’t work that way. That’s partly why the WNBA’s top assisters don’t average 8 or 9 assists a game.
Also, the Mystics are one of the few WNBA teams that got worse in the offseason than better because Emma Meesseman isn’t playing this season. Instead of having an elite frontcourt that could stretch defenses beyond their limits, the Mystics will have to depend on solid ball movement all season long to get more open looks.
Today, Washington only had 16 assists. In a game where the Mystics won by nearly 40 points, this doesn’t matter too much. But the reality is that the Fever aren’t expected to make the playoffs this season, even with an infusion of high draft picks. If the Mystics only dished 16 total assists against most teams, they would probably lose the game.
The Mystics’ preseason is complete. They will host the Fever next Sunday, May 20 at 1 p.m. EST at Capital One Arena.