Injuries, absences and inconsistency each have played major roles for the Chicago Sky and Washington Mystics during the first half of the WNBA season.
On Saturday night, both teams will try to find a building block to carry into the month-long Olympic break as Chicago (10-9) plays host to Washington (7-10).
The Mystics have lost four straight and, like the Sky, have been idle since losing on the road last weekend. Washington fell 82-79 at New York on July 3, while Chicago is coming off a 100-91 defeat at Dallas one day earlier.
Washington squandered an 18-point halftime lead against the Liberty. Tina Charles led the way with 31 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks against her former team.
“We just have to play with the same intensity for 40 minutes,” Mystics guard Leilani Mitchell said. “We’ve got too many lulls, too many long stretches of not executing both offensively and defensively.”
Chicago has won eight of 10 entering Saturday, fueled by fielding a complete roster at last, but has lost two of three. Candace Parker’s recent return from an injury to her left ankle has helped the Sky rank third in the league in offensive rating (107.0) going back to June 9.
Sky coach James Wade, who earned WNBA coach of the month honors for June, said the team this week focused not only on the individual and team challenges the Mystics present, but on harnessing its game altogether.
“Everything has been about competition and getting tougher defensively,” Wade said.
Chicago’s Astou Ndour-Fall especially relished the opportunity. Ndour-Fall played in the past two games after missing much of June while representing Spain in EuroBasket Women 2021 co-hosted by Spain and France.
She called the past week “a good opportunity to stay together, practicing a lot, getting to know each other better.”
Washington’s Myisha Hines-Allen (knee) and Natasha Cloud (ankle) missed the New York game due to injury. The Mystics expect to be without Mitchell, who is competing for Australia’s Olympic team.
–Field Level Media