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Washington Mystics Mid-Season: Versatility Versus Adversity

ByQueen Ballers Club|@queenballers| June 28, 2021
washington-mystics-versatility-versus-adversity

To be clear, we were put on notice during the Washington Mystics‘ media day. But perhaps we — and the league’s current number one standing team in the league, Seattle Storm — did not heed the warning at the time.

On-and-off court champion, Natasha Cloud who returned to the game in 2021 after sitting out during the 2020 WNBA season to focus her energy on supporting the social justice movement, relayed on media day, “While we have a different team, we still have our core. We still have players that are some of the best in our league.”

This season Washington returns 2019 champions including Natasha, Myisha Hines-Allen, Ariel Atkins, and Elena Delle Donne. No doubt, W teams that begin the year with more of their core intact, have a better shot at looking strong early in a season. This is especially pertinent this year, as many teams around the league rebuild chemistry after an action-packed free agency.

But it was more than that, that had the 29-year-old “vet-vet” point guard excited at that point. Something she’d already pegged to bank on was her team’s versatility.

“Our versatility. Even though we have some people out we still have a really scary team on paper. So right now it’s just fine tuning, adjusting to each other, figuring out our strengths and weaknesses, and really just gelling. I think we’re being kind of swept under the rug. Which, I like that because the last few years we’ve had a target on our back. But I think we’re going to shock a lot of people in this league. You know me that’s the underdog mentality, so we ready.” said Natasha.

Now 14 games into the season, nearly staring down the Olympic break, the team still has “some people out” including the 1,000-career-points achieving point guard herself, who’s been sidelined after suffered an ankle injury on top of steady hip flexor issues.

For a team that doesn’t accept excuses, the Mystics have been handed many: around thirty missed games in the form of injuries, among them Alysha Clark‘s pre-W-season Lisfranc injury to her right foot while playing overseas; in the form of delayed comebacks to the court.

For a recent stretch of games, Washington has had only “the great eight” available while missing Elena Delle Donne (back), Kiara Leslie (concussion protocol), Erica McCall (knee), Myisha Hines-Allen (knee), and Natasha Cloud (ankle). Ariel Atkins back has this year’s standout two guard waffling on the edge of the injury list, too. And Emma Meesseman is unlikely to return from overseas until after the Olympics.

The injury report from the Mystics vs Sparks game on  June 24th
The injury report from the Mystics vs Sparks game on June 24th

Another team short on players earlier this year, the Chicago Sky, with Candace Parker, Allie Quigley, and Stefanie Dolson missing from the court, recorded a 7-game losing streak. Though the team wasn’t worried and trusted the process, while younger players like Ruthy Hebard got some time in the sun and made good use of it.

The Mystics meanwhile have found creative ways to win, with both big versatility and big heart. Tina Charles set the tone early in the season during a players-only team meeting she called along with Natasha Cloud to ensure everyone was as committed to winning a championship as she is. The team isn’t mincing words, or actions.

Together, they’ve willed themselves to a mixed record of 7 and 8, including recent back-to-back wins over the Atlanta Dream (96-93), the Indiana Fever (82-77), and the Seattle Storm (87-83), before falling to the Los Angeles Sparks (82-89) and most recently, the Dallas Wings (74-85). With a focus on one day at a time, one game at a time, one possession at a time, grit has guided their way into what Richard Cohen at Her Hoop Stats descriptively called the “morass of eight teams in the middle”, currently grabbing hold to 9th place.

Mystics head coach Mike Thibault speaking about the Mystics’ nail biter against the Atlanta Dream on June 17th recapped, “It was a grit one. I mean, we had everything going against us. And we just said play free, play together, share the ball, have fun and play as hard as you can. And whatever happens, happens. Sometimes when you just free your mind up and you just go play, amazing things can happen.”

Amazing things have happened. The Mystics’ all-hands-on-deck mentality has allowed players the freedom to be more aggressive, and to go a little deeper into their bags – because – well, they’re not coming out. When the team sticks to their game plan, they have shown the ability to make quick decisions, move the ball, and get easy open looks — as well as the win.

The Mystics vs. The Dream

“My phone’s kind of going crazy – mainly my mom,” confessed 24-year-old Mystics guard Ariel Atkins. Ariel was responding to a question about the reactions she’d received after the recent announcement that she made the 2020 Tokyo Olympic team.

Ariel who once had some of her new Olympic teammates’ posters on her wall, said on June 21st of her earning a spot on this year’s team, “This isn’t just about me. It’s so, so, so much bigger than me; so much bigger than my face; so much bigger than my name …There are kids out there that know me, that have seen me. I’m from Duncanville, Texas, [a] small town in the Dallas area, and I just want them to know that you can do it, too. The only difference in between me and you is time and work, and I’m just blessed, man. I’m super thankful.”

Ariel’s first Olympic opportunity arrives at a time when her current 17.4 points per game rank her twelfth in the league in scoring. It also arrived shortly after her teammate Natasha Cloud insisted she’s the best two-guard in this league “period!”, and after Ariel put up a staggering 32 points against the Atlanta Dream, with 24 of those coming in the final 15 minutes, sealing a hard fought 96-93 win.

That night, a night that her fellow Olympic and Mystics’ teammate Tina Charles was unavailable due to attending the premiere of her film “Game Changer” at the Tribeca Film Festival, Ariel showed herself to be the dynamic two-way player she’s been quietly working to become over the last three years. She demonstrated her propensity to be both a strong shooter drawing attention off the ball, as well as one of the best defending threes in the WNBA.

Together with Natasha, she held Tiffany Hayes, the tenth ranked scoring leader, to 16 points, below Tiffany’s season average of 17.6. Though Tiffany got injured in the third quarter and was later diagnosed with a Grade 2 MCL tear.

With the Mystics down 38-46 at halftime, Ariel really rose to the occasion in the second half. She scored 24 of her game-high 32 points, shooting 7-of-8 from the field, and making 3-of-4 from the three point line. In the fourth quarter with just 2:44 left on the clock, Ariel brought energy on the defensive end, nearly stripping Crystal Bradford of the ball, though she recovered. With the score 83 Mystics – 82 Dream, in the following play, 5’8″ Ariel turned up the offense, hitting a 3 right over the outstretched arms of 5’10” Tiffany.

Head coach Mike Thibault said after the game, “That’s the mindset [Ariel] has now. She looks at herself as a prime-time player in this league. She’s an all-star in this league now…She was always recognized for her defense and kind of given credit for some of her offense, but she’s turned into one of the best players at both ends of the floor, and it showed up.”

Atlanta Dream WNBA team takes the court ahead of playing the Washington Mystics

Ariel gave credit for her staggering performance to her team, “Atlanta is an aggressive team. You know going in playing them that they’re going to be physical. So you have to match that because they’re good at what they do. Just have to take the hits and keep it pushing.”

“But as far as my performance, again, my team gives me this energy. My team gives me belief. I know that they trust me when the ball’s in my hand. I know that they trust me when we’re running certain plays and things like that. So this was a fun game. This was a fun game to win. Because we came in kind of down and out.

“But we figured out how to put it together and lock in and get the win.”

And it’s true that Ariel didn’t go it alone. Teammate and post player Theresa Plaisance delivered the best performance of her career, contributing another 25 points. Her new career high included knocking down 10 of 16 shots — five beyond the three. Prior to that night, Theresa averaged just 4.2 points per game for her career.

After the game, Natasha Cloud made sure to give her teammate all her flowers, “A year ago, Theresa literally didn’t know if she was going to walk again, and to see her come out, to see her have this game and to see her confidence, it’s amazing.” Theresa has struggled with back injuries over the last two seasons, and underwent two surgeries before changing her rehabbing style this past offseason. 

Head coach Mike praised Theresa’s work ethic, citing it as the reason she was able to deliver in her role when her time came. “She’s really put in the hours to get in the gym…This off-season [Theresa] really worked hard on her body. You know, she trimmed it and lost a lot of weight. And it’s taken her a while to kind of get used to her new body…her shot didn’t feel right to her – was streaky, she was getting in foul trouble…But she just stuck with it and I give her a lot of credit for when she was struggling to not lose faith.”

Ariel meanwhile was looking ahead to the future. She wanted her teammate to believe in herself as much as her teammates do. “[Theresa] needs to be confident in what she can do. She’s not here by accident. And she’s earned the right to be here. And she’s worked her tail off to get back to playing shape, and to be able to do what she can do for us. So as much as it feels good for us, I want it to feel good for her. I want her to know that she can do it, she’s capable, more than capable.”

Natasha Cloud also had a near triple double with 10 points, 11 assists, and 9 rebounds that night. As Theresa got into foul trouble late in the game, Tash even spent time playing at the 5. Playing nearly every position on the floor, let alone the center, is not something a lot of point guards would be able to do successfully. While Tash’s points might not have added up the way she wanted, her intangibles certainly did.

Head coach Mike marveled at Tash’s ability to stay after it in spite of not everything falling her way, “She played every spot on the floor tonight….She did all that and you know she didn’t you know particularly have a huge shooting game. But she did all the right things and it shows how tough she is and what she sparked I mean you’re talking about someone coming off an injury that she could barely walk three days ago. That’s a special effort.”

Summarizing his team’s performance, Mike continued, “We kept the best shooters on the floor and made them play us honest. When you had all 5 players out there who could score, they couldn’t help off as much. I told them at half time, Leilani and others, you’re not coming out so you might as well keep shooting the ball.”

Up next, the Mystics would see if they could make an honest team out of the Indiana Fever— and if they could keep shooting the ball, a critical component for a team with an offense predicated on three-ball.

The Mystics vs. The Fever

The Mystics match up with the Fever was too close for comfort, though the Mystics delivered their signature gusty, gritty performance. After digging a deep hole in the first quarter, starting 1 for 9 on shooting, the Mystics chipped their way back – mostly by getting Tina Charles the ball – for a final score of 82-77 Mystics.

The one type of play that worked for the squad in the first quarter was high-low feeds. Specifically Theresa Plaisance delivered a number of feeds from the top of the three into Tina Charles in the post. “Outside of Asjha Jones, I can say Theresa Plaisance is one of the best high-low passers ever. She’ll come down the court and she’ll be like, ‘Duck in,’” Tina Charles explained.

In particular, a Theresa feed over the top of Jantel Lavenders’s head – who somehow got turned around with her back to the ball and therefore didn’t even see it coming in – to Tina Charles was a thing of beauty. Once Tina secured it, she knew exactly what to do, hitting her signature baby left hook and picking up a foul to boot. She knocked in the free throw, and took the score to 14 – 9 Fever.

 After being out in much of the first quarter due to foul trouble, Ariel Atkins later hit a couple of smooth pull up dimes as the Mystics went on an 11-0 run in the second quarter. Natasha Cloud contributed a crafty top of the key steal and hit the layup sealing the deal, entirely shifting the momentum. The Mystics were back in it — with a little help from everyone.

Ariel, true-to-form, came in clutch as the fourth quarter rolled around, and the team was trying to create some distance from the Fever. She split the defense with a spectacular Euro step drive. On the other side of the court, Theresa secured a defensive rebound stripping the Fever of the chance for a retaliatory bucket. Pushing up the court, the squad got the ball into Tina Charles, who earned a bucket and a foul, leading to a 69 Fever – 76 Mystics score. Minutes later, with just 18.7 on the clock Ariel had another a big time hustle play, hunting down a rebound that ensured the Mystics would stay on top. The team compiled a 9-2 run down the stretch and chalked up another win.

Amidst the claw-back chaos, a Lisa Leslie MVP-pick candidate, Tina Charles had a record-setting night. She achieved a game-high 30 points, along with 15 rebounds, three assists and three steals, becoming the first player in WNBA history to post that stat line.

“To be honest, I thought I could have done better. There’s a lot of shots that I normally take throughout my career that I can normally make.” Tina recapped of her performance, in which she made 13 of 30 shots, but missed all six of her three-point attempts.

Tina’s driving ability proved to be the difference maker against a Fever team that boasts some of the tallest WNBA players, including Teaira McCowan at 6’7″ and Bernadett Határ at 6’10″.

“She’s quicker than a lot of post players, and so when they were doubling the post, she just stepped out and faced up and tried to drive it by them,” Mystics head coach Mike Thibault said. “Those were a couple really big plays.”

Theresa Plaisance, coming off her career-high performance against the Dream, added a double-double: 16 points and 12 rebounds – of her own, proving her teammates’ points that her points are here to stay.

“It was different for us, but we had a lot of people step up and fill in and take that leadership role,” Theresa said of the night. “And we figured it out tonight, and there were a lot of things that you can say that came from a lot of different places, but it definitely came from the heart.”

With a two game win streak under their belts, the Mystics would next test their heart against the league leading Seattle Storm. But first, they’d find another player to step in, and hopefully step up.

The Mystics sign Megan Gustafson

With fewer than 10 healthy players available, the Mystics were allowed a hardship signing and brought on Megan Gustafson on June 21st, ahead of their stop in Seattle. With two pro seasons under her belt, the 6’3″ post player is intended to provide in-game breaks for Tina, as well as Theresa.

During college play, Megan averaged an impressive 27.8 points and 13.4 rebounds per game while shooting 69.7% (first in NCAA) and setting an NCAA record for field goals in a season. She was also the Naismith and AP Player of the Year for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Thereafter she was picked 17th by the Dallas Wings in the 2019 WNBA Draft, and went on to deliver an average of .9 field goals over 8.2 minutes.

A player’s on-the-court impact can sometimes have more to do with how a player fits into the team’s system, than the player’s skill set. Mystics head coach Mike Thibault said he decided to sign Megan because she’s used to playing in the Mystics style of basketball, “She was a post player who was used to the running game, running the middle lane of the floor and getting early post ups. If she was involved in pick and rolls, roll into the basket. She’s a good finisher around the basket. She’s worked on her face-up game and extended her range. But I was intrigued enough to see how she fit into our system.”

Megan hadn’t anticipated the opportunity, but made sure to continue working on her game, despite being waived from the Dallas Wings on May 12. “I wasn’t expecting that call from my agent…I’m just thankful I stayed ready.” she said. After getting on a plane that night to DC, and slipping in one practice before Seattle, Megan is intent on controlling the controllables.

“Controlling my effort, being able to control my attitude, always be a great teammate…fill in the spots that are needed….I’m going to do whatever I can to give breaks to our posts.”

Spoiler alert: Despite a relatively quiet first showing (name an employee that contributes above and beyond during their first week of work – we’re all just lucky if we find the bathroom – well, besides Layshia Clarendon), to date, Megan has nearly doubled her previous field goal production with only a 20% increase in her time on the floor. Interestingly, Megan has gone on to play the majority of her minutes for the Mystics with Tina, rather than in her natural position as the center, but it appears to be working for the Mystics. 

Back to it: with Megan onboard the Mystics headed into the storm.

The Mystics vs. The Storm

Against the Seattle Storm on June 22nd, the Mystics held on through a tough game, until they pulled off some big plays at the end and emerged victorious. And by they, we mean Tina. Tina Charles who’s playing the best season of her WNBA career, averaging a league-leading 24.5 points plus 9.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.7 blocks per game, while shooting 44.6 percent from the field – was again the rock and the momentum shifter.

Early in the fourth quarter, as the Mystics trailed Seattle, 69 to 74, Tina kicked off a Mystics team run of 16-4, with her own 5-0 show. Seattle added an extra defender in the post to help Mercedes Russell with Tina, and when even that didn’t work, they tried to stop her with three and sometimes even four players collapsing.

Tina Charles, who points to rebounding as a major reason teams win games, along with free throws, shot 14 of 25 from the charity stripe that night. “Watching film on [Seattle] we know they’re not a block out team…getting rebounds starts a lot of things.” Tina recapped.

That’s why she also made sure to show up on the defensive end, where with less than 10 seconds left, she secured a defensive rebound over Breanna Stewart. She then found Leilani Mitchell for the safe outlet, who subsequently knocked down two free throws off a foul to secure the 87 Mystics – 83 Seattle victory.

That night, with 34 points and 16 rebounds, Tina became the first WNBA player with 30 points and 15 rebounds in back-to-back games, having achieved the mark in her last two games. To put the sheer magnitude of that accomplishment in perspective, in WNBA history, only Candace Parker and Tina Thompson also have at least one 30-point, 15-rebound, 5-assist game. On top of that, Tina has scored at least 30 points in her last three games. Which she says is business as usual.

Seven seasons spent in the top 10 when it comes to player efficiency rating, and multiple seasons in the top 10 for the most putbacks in a regular season, would say she’s right. “I feel like throughout my career I’ve been able to get better each and every single year. I think there’s always been some type of improvement. And so for me, I think I’m just doing what I’ve been doing year in and year out. This year is definitely different just because I didn’t play last year, so the hunger is there – wanting to compete, missing being in the lockers rooms, and all of that.” said Tina.

“But outside of that, I think I’m just doing what I normally do.”

Mike Thibault agrees that excellence is the norm for Tina, though admits she’s unlocked a new level fueling the team’s recent win streak. “Obviously Tina’s playing the same she’s played all year – terrific. But I think she’s even taken it up a notch the last two games, just willing herself to carry this team a little bit.”

Certainly, Tina’s step-out game and three game have evolved. She’s gone from shooting zero threes in Connecticut in 2010, to achieving a 35.2% three percentage in 2021 on 1.9 threes made per game. And from knocking down 7.1 field goals per game during her time with Connecticut to now hitting 9.4 field goals per game, at a similar percentage.

She’s also cut out much of her mid-range game – now accounting for only 22% of her total shots down from 33% in prior years – and is instead taking (and hitting) shots from inside eight feet. But she’s more than her stat-line contributions, she can also secure a rebound and bring the ball up the court, kicking off the entire team’s offense.

Tina Charles' 2021 shooting chart via Basketball Reference
Tina Charles’ 2021 shooting chart via Basketball Reference

Furthermore, Tina is also more comfortable on the defensive side than she’s been in previous years, a bit of an intangible that doesn’t show up much on her individual stat line. At the age of 32, she’s now willing and able to switch onto any guard – a position who’s speed gives many bigs trouble. Taking advantage of her quick feet and long arms, she’s able to bother guards such as Jewell Loyd and Sue Bird, without getting blown by or pump faked into too many fouls.

Fittingly, Tina Charles is one of four Mystics headed to Tokyo (one of two representing the US) — Tina for her third Olympics. “I’m probably maybe the only one that cries every time,” she said. “I don’t take it for granted. I just start bawling, crying, because it means a lot for me [and] it means a lot for my family and coaches and players along the way that have allowed me to be at this position in my career.”

Of course, it helps Tina to do her job inside, when her teammates are cooking on the outside. Against Seattle, Leilani Mitchell added depth off of the ball with 19 points, while Ariel Atkins and Theresa Plaisance each added 10.

After the win, the Mystics headed down the coast to the second stop on their road tour: sunny Los Angeles, where they’d fight to keep their now three-game win streak live. Only time would tell who would step up to provide the spark against the Sparks.

The Mystics vs. The Sparks

On June 24th, the still short-handed Mystics, with just seven players, looked to further pad their win column against the Los Angeles Sparks. The Sparks were still missing both Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike, which meant they lacked critical size in their frontcourt, as well as the sisters’ previous combined contribution of 25.4 points per game.

This opening allowed Washington to take advantage with their larger physical presence inside. But the Mystics tried to strike a balance between inside and outside play, in order to get open threes. Building on their position as one of the top three teams in three-point makes, they relied on their perimeter shooting to draw doubles, before kicking the ball for wide open shots. The strategy worked for shooting guard and 2019 WNBA  Most  Improved  Player Leilani Mitchell, who made six 3-pointers and scored 26 points.

Teammate Sydney Wiese recapped, “Lei has been shooting the lights out. She’s been running the floor as our pg out there. She’s doing her thing. Like this is what Lei does. She’s an Olympian for a reason. And it’s all finding the rhythm. This game is a game of rhythm and flow and she’s stepped up in big moments when we needed her to…You hear her voice at all times on both ends of the floor, so she’s been a great leader for us.”

But Leilani’s performance, even with paired with Tina Charles 25 points, was not enough to turn the tide. Meanwhile Ariel struggled from beyond the three, perhaps due to a nagging back injury (she had an MRI the day before) and tired legs.

Tired legs translated into tired minds, and Washington committed 21 turnovers which turned into 33 Los Angeles points. Though the Sparks are known for their signature defensive energy, having forced 30 turnovers against the Liberty turned into 37 points just a few days earlier. Ultimately Te’a Cooper’s career-high 26 points and Amanda Zahui B.’s 17 proved too much to overcome, and the Mystics lost 89-82.

Looking to regroup, would their will to compete and to win each possession ensure another leader emerged to take flight against the Wings?

The Mystics vs. The Wings

The Mystics took on the Dallas Wings on June 26th, as their third road game in just five days. The night was set to be Megan Gustafson’s revenge tour (our words, not hers). Actually, she said she has “no bad blood” with the Wings and was excited to see all the Dallas fans who had supported her. Though Dallas pulled ahead early and held on to rack up the win: 85-74.

The first half proved that Dallas was going to be a problem. The Wings started out strong, seemingly getting whatever they wanted in the first half, even out-rebounding the Mystics 25-14. By putting physical players on Ariel, the Wings were able to minimize her impact from the jump. Meanwhile the Wing’s Arike Ogunbowale was cooking, scoring 16 of her 30 points that half.

Capitalizing on the Mystics’ sluggishness, Arike also intercepted a lackluster pass at the top of the key, in a similar performance to that of Te’a Cooper just a few days prior. The dazzling defense-turned-to-offense feat put a spotlight on the weary state of the Mystics. Mike Thibault ahead of the game admitted he was tired from coaching, so he knew his players must be tired too.

Tina Charles, who ended the night with 27 points and 10 rebounds to lead Washington, reflected, “We have to be very aware of how we start games. That urgency that we had at the beginning of the third was the same urgency we definitely needed in the beginning of the game.” Indeed, the Mystics turned up the heart, and tapped into their versatility, and won the second half of the game by 5.

Shavonte Zellous was a substitution made to start the third quarter and was the key to sparking a third quarter run for the team, making things difficult on the defensive end for both Arike and 3 X 3 US Olympic athlete Allisha Gray. “[Shavonte’s] going to get stops. She takes her [defensive] assignments personally.” said Tina. Shavonte also seized an opportunity for a beautiful cut down the lane, which helped to keep the defense honest, as part of her 7 point contribution.

Building on the momentum, Leilani Mitchell kicked off a rallying cry, knocking down a deep three with 3:59 left in the third. Suddenly, the game was back in reach: Washington 50 – Dallas 55. Though the Mystics badly needed other players to step up and make shots, and the help never came.

Shavonte reflected after the game, “We can get kind of complacent and take bad shots. And we don’t need to. And sometimes that can lead to the other team’s momentum.”

Though the road trip did not end the way the team had hoped Tina is already looking toward the future, “You definitely want to get back out there and get this bad taste out of your mouth.” Sometimes a short term-memory is just what the doctor ordered.

Regardless of the record, the team proved to themselves they can consistently fight together, which is something that could pay off big on the other side of the Olympic break. Reflecting on the road trip Shavonte said, “It was a team that fought hard. Under so many circumstances, losing so many pieces due to injury right now, we stayed together. And we fought through everything – whether it was good or bad.”

The real magic Mike

There’s another piece to the Mystics’ puzzle: the puzzle master Mike Thibault, who has been the key to bringing the squads’ versatility to life all season long. As a result, Mike is now the winningest WNBA coach of all time, having recently surpassed 350 wins.

Of achieving the milestone, he reflected, “I’m just kind of old, and I’ve stuck with it. For me that means that these players keep me young. I have enjoyed what we’ve built here. And you know, we’ll get through this rocky time we’ve had with injuries, we’ll keep fighting to figure out how to fix this thing.”

Mike talks to the team

And fix, he has. This year we’ve seen him adjust the roster in response to injuries, adjust the lineup based on opponents, and adjust in-game plays at a level that’s simply unmatched.

“The end game adjustments he makes are magnificent. He’s just a great overall coach and it’s just an honor to play for him.” said 11-season vet Shavonte, who’s also spent time with the Seattle Storm, New York Liberty, and Indiana Fever to name just a few stops in her lengthy career.

But Mike, similarly to his players, passes the credit along t his team – his coaching staff – for the team’s performance, “I credit all around. Number one I think our coaches have done a great job both in scouting preparation for our games and number two in just individual work and talking. The amount of time that people like Leilani and Theresa have come to shoot the ball and get themselves back in rhythm has been huge.”

After getting some much needed rest, Mike and his squad will need to turn their attention back to the defensive side of the court as they look to reset. The Mystics currently average 82.4 points per game, which is 6th place in the league, while giving up 83.5 points per game which ranks 9th – after a much stronger defensive start than that to the year.

Part of securing future success will also be finding confidence through consistency — a challenge with a roster that’s been anything but consistent.

“Confidence comes from repetition, and success from repetition.” Mike Thibault said speaking solely of the dazzling display against Atlanta by Theresa Plaisance that Swish Appeal coined her career renaissance. That mantra, identified early on before the recent road trip, holds the key to unlocking wins for the remainder of the season.

As Ariel Atkins also pegged after their Atlanta game, “We need to build good habits. I would like for this to be something we can build on and try to stay consistent with again. Our aggressiveness, our urgency, and also staying level headed in the heat of the moment.”

The Mystics have shown a propensity to win home games (5-3), which bodes well for their next match up on June 29th, against the Connecticut Sun.

After the big three returned to the court for the Chicago Sky the team flipped their losing series into a seven-game winning streak. Imagine what the return of Elena Delle Donne, Natasha Cloud, and Myisha Hines-Allen could do for the Mystics. Or don’t, because the Mystics have proven they can find a way to win, regardless.

Up next, read about the Mystics’ prior Los Angeles game – at home.

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