Washington Mystics vs Los Angeles Sparks Preview
Mystics 17-19 vs Sparks 15-21
When: Sunday, September 3rd, at 7:30p.m.
Where: Crypto.com Arena
TV: WNBA League Pass, NBC Sports Washington/ Monumental Sports, Spectrum SportsNet
Mystics: Ariel Atkins (Out, Nasal Fracture), Shakira Austin ( Out, Left Hip),
Sparks: Chiney Ogwumike (Out, Foot), Nia Clouden ( Out, Knee), Lexie Brown ( Out, Non-Covid Illness), Katie Lou Samuelson (Out, Pregnancy)
Keep an eye on:
Defensive Focus: is something Washington has to bring back into the fold in tonight's contest against the Sparks. The Mystics, come in to tonight, winners of two out of their last three game, thanks to an elevated play on the defensive end. In wins over the Aces and Lynx, Washington held both teams to a combined 36 percent shooting from the field, while in their loss in a rematch with the Aces, Washington allowed nearly 47 percent shooting from the field. Although, Washington is once again wounded tonight, with Ariel Atkins and Shakira Austin being out due to injury, the rest of the Mystics will have to pick up the slack defensively to get back on the winning side. It's simple, if Washington defends (and are reasonably healthy), they win. If they don't, they will lose, and things get even more interesting in the battle to secure a playoff spot at the bottom of the WNBA standings.
Keeping LA off the free throw line: should be a primary focus for Washington. The Sparks come in fourth in free throw percentage, shooting 81.8 percent and are top five in the WNBA in free throw makes per game (15.4) and free throw attempts per game (18.9). LA has seven players that shoot between 82 percent and 100 percent with superstar Nneka Ogwumike leading the way for LA in free throw makes per game (3.9) and free throw attempts per game (4.4). It's a message all basketball players hear from a young age, defend without fouling....this will be KEY in tonight's game.
Take care of the ball: simple as that. Both teams are great at forcing turnovers as well as protecting the ball. The Mystics rank fourth in both steals per game (7.9) and turnovers per game (12.6) while the Sparks, come in ranking first in the WNBA in steals per game (8.4) and third in turnovers per game (12.6). Something will have to give. Keep a close eye on steals and turnovers.