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Mystics vs. Lynx Preview: Washington heads to Minnesota for preseason debut

After a long offseason and the start of training camp, let’s see how things mesh together.

WNBA: Washington Mystics at Minnesota Lynx
Elena Delle Donne and the Mystics will play their first preseason game tomorrow!
Michael Zamora-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Mystics will face the Minnesota Lynx in their first preseason game of 2019. Last year, they also played the Lynx in the preseason winning 90-85. The game will take place in Minneapolis, Minn. at 8 p.m. ET.

The preseason combined with training camp has ups and downs. It’s the time period where rookies and even some veterans fight to make the final 12-player roster. It’s also when starting lineups and rotations get figured out.

Starting Five and Bench Mob

After previously talking to General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault on Monday, it seems as though he’ll be returning to this starting lineup from last season:

  • Point Guard: Kristi Toliver
  • Shooting Guard: Natasha Cloud
  • Small Forward: Ariel Atkins
  • Power Forward: Elena Delle Donne
  • Center: LaToya Sanders

Remember, this is the lineup that got Washington to the WNBA Finals last season so I see no reason changing it now. The starting five meshed well together and the only way for the starters to change would have to be a player who out-plays them in a particular position.

Emma Meesseman is here for training camp, but won’t be starting with her training with the Belgium women’s national basketball team next month for Women’s EuroBasket.

Though Meesseman would come off the bench in the beginning, that doesn’t mean she isn’t a starting-caliber player — she obviously is. And perhaps she will slide into a starting position later this season. But again, there’s no need to change the starting five.

A good solid rotation off the bench could make or break the Mystics this season. A possible sleeper guard that can take charge and lead the bench would be surreal. Cloud was definitely that leader early last season, which led to her becoming a starter and having one of her best years last season.

Washington currently has 17 players on their training camp roster. It’ll be tough to see the five that won’t make the cut.

New Players on the Roster

Noticeably there are seven players who weren’t on the Mystics last year and will look to make the opening day roster:

  • AJ Alix — This will Alix’s second time as part of the training camp roster looking to battle her way through to a spot on the team.
  • G’mrice Davis — Davis has great potential with good solid height for attacking the boards. She’s previously been invited to the Lynx training camp last season as well as signed a contract with the Greek A2 National League team GAS Kalyvion.
  • Sam Fuehring — Another Louisville Card added to the mix would be a plus especially since her former college teammate Myisha Hines-Allen is already on the squad. The combination and versatility of both Fuehring and Hines-Allen together can be good since they’re well aware where each other is on the court.
  • Kiara Leslie — Washington’s first round draft pick will definitely be in Thibault’s radar since Leslie was a heavy favorite who he’d kept his eyes on far as playing both ends of the court.
  • Kim Mestdagh — There will be a spot saved for her on the opening day roster because she’ll be missing training because of overseas play. It doesn’t make sense to cut someone BEFORE she arrives.
  • Maci Morris — The former Kentucky Wildcat can be known for her accuracy behind the arc. Washington is already pretty decent in that area, but who knows what other assets she can bring to the team.
  • Shey Peddy — Peddy is a return invitee previously from 2013 who’s looking for a second chance as well.

Even if some of these players don’t make the opening day roster, a couple players may be midseason additions while Meesseman and Mestdagh represent Belgium in Women’s EuroBasket.