The Washington Mystics are still undefeated (3-0) after a 93-84 win over the Indiana Fever (0-4) on Thursday evening.
Elena Delle Donne led the way with 26 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 10 of 17 in a very efficient performance. Tianna Hawkins and Kristi Toliver also added 13 points each in the victory. For Indiana, Candice Dupree scored 21 while rookie guard Kelsey Mitchell score 24 points and made five three pointers.
Here are some takeaways from the game.
Delle Donne is now in midseason form
The Mystics’ franchise player was cold in the season opener against the Fever but she has since responded with two straight 20 point performances. This is a cliché, I know, but the Mystics have Delle Donne to be that X-factor to go for the baskets when few others want to take shots, and she’s now scoring at a very efficient rate. Sure, the Mystics haven’t played a top tier team yet. But at the same time, it’s hard to average 60 percent shooting from the field and making and-one’s when defenses constantly focus on her.
Hawkins is filling in the reserve stretch four role nicely
With Emma Meesseman out for the season, a number of post players were bound to have bigger roles. Delle Donne now plays her natural position at power forward. But there still needs to be someone who can rebound consistently and make shots from three at a consistent rate. Hawkins did just that by scoring 13 points and grabbing five rebounds. She also made three of five three pointers tonight and made six total threes so far this season.
The Mystics are still unable to blow projected lower tier teams out
On the one hand, no Mystics fan should complain that the Mystics are off to a 3-0 start. At the same time, they are 3-0 against teams that were lottery bound in the 2017 season, two of those wins coming from the Fever.
If the Mystics beat every team by double digits so far, I wouldn’t mention this. But Washington failed to blow out the Fever last Sunday at home with Delle Donne not having a great shooting night — fair enough. But the Mystics suffered a 16 point deficit to the Aces last Tuesday early in their game and were down by nine in the first quarter against Indiana tonight.
Even though Washington was beating Indiana by 15 after the third quarter and led by 13 with with just a minute to go, they still “only beat the Fever by nine.” This happened because the Mystics made late fouls and Hind Ben Abdelkader made four free throws.
The bottom line is that though the Mystics won every game, they still have yet to win a game convincingly from start to finish. They may be 3-0 and lead the WNBA standings as of Thursday, but they could be easily 1-2 as well give how poor their last two games started.
It’s early to say where the Mystics truly rank in the WNBA hierarchy, but they still are a work in progress and have to prepare for their toughest opponent yet next Sunday.
The Mystics host the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday, May 27 at 3 p.m. EST in Capital One Arena.