Mystics drop second-straight vs. Sun


The Washington Mystics had a chance at revenge Tuesday night in their second consecutive battle against the Connecticut Sun but came up short in a 88-81 defeat to drop to 1-2 on the young season.

Early on in the contest in D.C., it was evident both teams’ frontcourts would be the focal point of their respective offenses.

The Sun were paced yet again by Alyssa Thomas (22 points, 10 rebounds, five assists), who has now led the team in scoring in two of their three wins to start the season. Alongside her, fellow forwards DeWanna Bonner and Brionna Jones chipped in double-figures with 11 points apiece. All five Connecticut starters scored in double-figures as the team shot 47.5% from the field.

Washington’s defense was a point of emphasis postgame.

“Obviously, [we were] not good enough closing down driving lanes,” Mystics’ head coach Eric Thibault said after the loss. “Our pick-and-roll coverage needs to improve quickly because we were not on the same page a few times. The ball is going one way and our help defender is going the other way, and that shouldn’t happen...[it’s an] early season game that we can learn a lot from.”

Shakira Austin, who has displayed some incredible progress in just her second year as a pro, was also key for the Mystics despite the loss as she poured in 14 points and seven rebounds. Brittney Sykes also had her best game as a Mystic since coming to Washington over the offseason, contributing 17 points and seven rebounds with a +10 rating.


Washington stayed in the game thanks to Elena Delle Donne, who the team seemed to feed offensively each time they got in their halfcourt sets. She chipped in 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field. Her point total was the highest she’s contributed in a game since Sept. 3, 2019 vs. New York (30 points).

“I’m actually more excited about the minutes I’ve been playing. I’m like leading this team in minutes right now,” Delle Donne said with a laugh.

She’s right. Delle Donne has either led the team or tied for the team lead in minutes in each of the first three games of the season. This is after having the ‘greatest offseason’ of her career following multiple injuries that sidelined her for the majority of the past three seasons.

“Really not worried about the scoring,” Delle Donne said. “You know, there’s different nights, different things are gonna be needed. Tonight, I was feeling really good shooting it, but yeah, I’m excited about the minutes played and being able to bounce back with what, we had three games in five days? Feeling good, feeling strong.”

Coach Thibault was also happy with the two-time MVP’s performance but noted there is much work to do.

“We asked a lot of her today, probably more than we should have to,” Thibault said. “We’ve gotta find ways for her to attack people besides having her back to the basket, because it does take a toll. It’s just frustrating to lose regardless of the stats.”

Washington has a couple of days off before their next contest, away at Chicago on Friday night. The team will be able to practice in earnest for the first time since before their season opener last week.