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Mystics vs. Sparks preview: Washington looks to make second consecutive semifinals appearance

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Things got heated the last time the Sparks were in town...

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The Mystics host the Sparks on Thursday. Here’s a preview!

Game Info

When: Thursday, August 23 at 7 P.M. ET

Where: Charles Smith Center at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

How to watch: ESPN2

Injuries

Mystics: None

Sparks: None

Pregame notes

Defense is key

In their last match-up on August 17, Washington did a good job with containing the Sparks’ top 3 scorers. Candace Parker had 13 points while Chelsea Gray and Nneka Ogwumike scored 10 points each. The Mystics kept them below their regular season averages which should be the goal going into this game. In the Sparks’ first playoff game, Chelsea Gray dropped a team-high 26 points against the Lynx. There’s no doubt she will be coming into this game with an elevated confidence but the Mystics need to be extra aggressive to hold her and her Sparks squad back from dominating in the front court.

Even if things get heated, don’t lose sight of the goal

If this game is anything like the last one against the Sparks, be sure to grab your popcorn. It’s the playoffs so it’s going to absolutely be a tense game from tip-off.

Natasha Cloud please keep that same energy!

Last Friday, Cloud stepped up and drilled a very difficult shot over 2017 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Alana Beard with a little over 3 seconds left in the fourth quarter. At this moment, she let everyone know that she’s got the heart of a champion. If the Mystics find themselves down, I’m trusting Delle Donne or Cloud with the last shot.

New arena, same city

The Mystics said goodbye to Capital One Arena last week and will now host home playoff games at The George Washington University’s Smith Center. It’s going to feel a bit different as the Smith Center is a lot smaller and only holds 5,000 people. In their last game against the Sparks 7,400 fans showed up. There’s no game like a home game especially if all 5,000 seats are filled.