When: Wednesday, August 5 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida
How to watch: NBA TV, NBC Sports Washington, Monumental Sports Network
Mystics: Natasha Cloud (Personal, Out); LaToya Sanders (Personal, Out); Tina Charles (Medical, Out); Elena Delle Donne (Back, Out); Tianna Hawkins (Questionable, Back)
Aces: Kelsey Plum (Achilles, Out); Liz Cambage (Medical, Out)
There are some big differences since the last time both teams faced each other in the 2019 WNBA Semifinals. The Las Vegas Aces are without Kelsey Plum and Liz Cambage, but added Angel McCoughtry. The Washington Mystics only have Ariel Atkins as their returning starter, while Cloud, Sanders and Delle Donne are out for the season and Kristi Toliver went to the Los Angeles Sparks in free agency.
Both teams however seem to be managing well with the players they have. Aces are 2-2 and the Mystics are 3-1. Granted it’s still early in the season, so anything can happen. The Aces’ head coach Bill Laimbeer is very familiar with a couple of the Mystics players, Leilani Mitchell and Essence Carson. Both Mitchell and Carson played for the New York Liberty when Laimbeer coached the team. It’s possible he could have a slight advantage.
One big flaw Laimbeer has that Washington can capitalize on is he uses his “bigs” heavily so players like A’ja Wilson, McCoughtry, and Erica Hamby are who the Mystics will need to focus on and limit as much as possible. That’s not to say the Aces’ guards can’t do damage, but they haven’t really been the focal point of the Las Vegas team.
Emma Meesseman and Myisha Hines-Allen are two players to keep an eye on as they’ll definitely be the ones guarding Wilson and McCoughtry. Meesseman hasn’t been a huge scoring force like we know she can be, but her assists and rebounds can help. Hines-Allen, the recent Eastern Conference Player of the Week, will have to set the tone for the Mystics team and get them going on Wednesday.