The Washington Mystics will face the Las Vegas Aces in Game 1 of the WNBA semifinals. During the regular season, the teams played each other three times, resulting in the Mystics winning two out of the three.
When: Tuesday September 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C.
How to watch: ESPN2
Mystics: Kiara Leslie (Knee, Out), Kristi Toliver (Knee, Out)
Washington will be well-rested — The last time Washington played a game was Sept. 8 against Dallas. They ended the regular season on a high note with a six-game win streak.
In the last nine days, the Mystics should have had ample time to rest and get in their practices ahead of this series. They need to take advantage of the Aces who are coming off a cross country flight and having played a tough game on Sunday against the Chicago Sky.
The Mystics lost at home to the Aces this year — The sole time the Aces traveled to the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, D.C., the Mystics lost 85-81. In that July 13th game, the Mystics came out blazing in the first quarter but lost their momentum, resulting in being outscored in the next three quarters.
The Mystics did not have Elena Delle Donne because she was sidelined with a nose fracture. Having her in the semifinals will allow the Mystics to be in a better position to win but they won’t be able to do that if they are outscored in three of the four quarters.
The Mystics will be just fine without Kristi Toliver — Although it’s not ideal that Toliver will not be suiting up, the Mystics have shown they can still rally and pull through without her on the floor. Aerial Powers has stepped up incredibly in her absence. Powers has been a momentum changer and has showed that she is the one opponents need to worry about.
The Aces will be fired up and rested too — Las Vegas will be arriving to ESA ready to play after their 1-point win against Chicago in the second round. In their first playoff game of the season, the Aces had five players in double figures. Liz Cambage led her team with 23 points and a whopping 17 rebounds. Dearica Hamby and Kayla McBride followed with 17 and 16 points respectively.
Washington needs to buckle down on defense because almost everyone on the Aces squad is capable of going off.