Chicago sky is so much for mystics

Chicago sky is so much for mystics


Opinion

CHICAGO — Once upon a time, the gauntlet through the WNBA’s top teams is set to meet the Washington Mystics late in the regular season.

But after stringing together impressive wins over two of the league’s top four teams in their pursuit of a top postseason seed, the Mystics got a shout Friday night in the form of the 93-win defending champion Chicago Sky in Washington. -83, in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score suggested at Wintrust Arena.

“We felt like we were flat,” Mystics coach Mike Thibault said. “We didn’t have a big practice. [Thursday]And we played as practice. Maybe the first one is bad [game] I would say we have gone through a long period of time where we have not been able to generate energy.

The Mystics – without leading scorer Elena Delle Donne, who was rested for the final three regular-season games – were unable to continue their success with wins over the Seattle Hurricanes and Las Vegas Aces earlier this week.

Instead, Washington (20-13) — Misha Hines-Allen finished with 21 points and Shakira Austin had 17 — gasped while chasing the fast-paced Sky (24-8).

The defending champions got off to a fast start, leading 29-15 after one quarter. Thibault, who could do nothing but watch his team fail to get going, spent most of the second half near the end of Washington’s bench, hands in pockets, mostly talking about what he saw playing out in front of him.

He finished 8 for 24 from beyond the arc as Chicago maintained a comfortable cushion, including nine three-pointers in 22 attempts.

The Mystics couldn’t slow down the league-leading Sky, who built a 23-point lead late in the first half. As the Mystics struggled to find any offensive rhythm, Chicago used a 14-2 run to open the game as the Skys scored points.

The Mystics were never able to cut the Sky lead to double digits in the second half. For that time the margin was more than 20 points.

“Give Chicago credit: They came in ready to go, they hit big threes, the ball moved, they had good speed for everything they did tonight, and for half, at least, they looked like the better team.” Thibault said.

Kahleh Copper paced Chicago with 19 points, 18 each from Ali Quigley and 11 each from Azura Stevens and Rebecca Gardner. Courtney Vandersloot and Emma Meesseman, the 2019 WNBA Finals MVP with the Mystics, rounded out the balanced Sky scoring attack with 10 points apiece.

Entering Friday night’s game tied with No. 4 seed Seattle, the Mystics will need to bounce back quickly if they hope to keep pace with the Hurricanes. Washington hosts the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday at the Entertainment and Sports Arena before completing back-to-back games against the Indiana Fever, who have five wins and sit at the bottom of the WNBA standings.

The Hurricanes’ regular season shutout against Chicago was their second in seven games. But after suffering their first double-digit loss since June 23, when the Mystics dropped an 85-71 loss to the Hurricanes, Thibault will try to get the team back together with more work to do before the playoffs.

I said [the team] Our preparation for Sunday starts right this minute,” Thibault said. “…Mentally they need to get themselves back to the scouting report and get some sleep and get two nights rest and get ourselves ready to go.”

With its tough schedule out of the way, what kind of rebounding effort it gets from the Musketeers could determine how much Washington can push into the postseason.

Here’s what else you need to know about the disappearance of mystics:

Mystics players said they would not talk about the injury after Friday’s game, but instead wanted to spend time talking about the 9½-year ban handed down in Russia to Phoenix Mercury star Brittany Griner.

Forward Alisha Clarke said: “It’s definitely a decision [Thursday] It is very heavy on all of our hearts [Griner’s] As sisters in this league, as friends…we continue to call on President Biden to continue to do everything he can to find her and Paul. [Whelan] Home and all wrongfully imprisoned Americans are there. We miss her, and there aren’t even words to describe it.

“Sports should be a safe place, and no player should be used as a political pawn, and we’re going to hold her up, and we’re going to continue to speak on her behalf, and we’re going to have hope in the administration that they’re going to get her home quickly and get her home safely.”

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