After a long offseason that started too soon, the Washington Mystics are back in action for 2022. They kicked off the season in style with an 84-70 win over the Indiana Fever on Friday night.
Washington forced Indiana to commit 14 turnovers while they only committed 7 themselves, helping them overcome a 42-31 rebounding deficit. Either way, the Mystics shot 75 percent in the first quarter, outscored the Fever, 31-16 and that alone was the ballgame. The overmatched Fever never had a chance to build momentum and were without some of their key players like Bria Hartley. It wasn’t like the Mystics were at 100 percent either. Alysha Clark missed today’s game as she aims to return in the near future from a right foot injury.
Since this game was so lopsided, let’s take a look at the individual performances of the game. Elena Delle Donne started and scored 21 points on 8-of-16 to lead Washington. She also grabbed 9 rebounds and had this nice block here in the fourth quarter.
Natasha Cloud was also back in prime form, scoring 17 points, and making Lexie Hull drop to the floor.
Finally, Rui Machida played 16 minutes and held her own. She dished two assists, but I liked her first WNBA bucket where she got the defense to believe she will pass instead.
Washington only had eight players get game action today, including rookie Shakira Austin, who only played about 3 minutes and scored 3 points. While that is certainly a small amount of time, we were clear before the draft that the first round pick, Austin or otherwise was not likely to be a starter or even a sixth woman type of player this season, so this wasn’t particularly surprising.
Kelsey Mitchell scored 11 points to lead the Fever.
The Mystics are back in action on Sunday when they play the Minnesota Lynx. Tip off is at 8 p.m. ET at ESA. The Lynx will be a much more difficult opponent than the Fever, but if the Mystics play with the same amount of intensity tonight, then this team could do better than some of the pundits were assuming in the preseason.