Things are beginning to look bleak for 2019 champions.
In the first of a two-game set with the Dallas Wings (11–14), the Washington Mystics ( 9–15) fell at home, 82–77.
Earlier today it was announced that Tina Charles, the WNBA’s leading scorer with 25.4 points per game, would miss the next three to five outings with a left gluteal strain. Without Charles, Washington needed to find offensive production from elsewhere in the lineup. And they had it from the get-go — in the first half, eight different Mystics put their names on the scoresheet, with all five starters scoring at least two points.
An early Elena Delle Donne three forced a Dallas timeout, which put the home side up 12. The break slightly flipped the momentum, as the Wings used a 6–1 run to cut the lead to seven. Despite the away side outscoring the hosts 24–14 in the paint, the Mystics took a 43–36 lead into the half.
After going 1-for-5 from the floor to start the third, Washington Head Coach Mike Thibault called for a quick timeout to stymie Dallas’ momentum. The break, however, did nothing to slow the Wings. Led by Arike Ogunbowale, the team from the lone star state finally retook the lead at the 3:27 mark of the third. The advantage change was the first since 7:51 in the first. With one frame to play, the Mystics were up by a single point.
Nine lead changes made for an exciting finish to the match, but a missed Ariel Atkins (12 points) three cost the Mystics a chance to earn a much-needed win. With just eight regular-season games to go, Washington is running out of time to make a playoff push. Equally distressing, Delle Donne, who recently returned from a two-year injury hiatus, played only 12 minutes and left the floor early.
Myisha Hines-Allen led the Mystics in points with 16, while Ogunbowale (26 points, nine assists) and Isabelle Harrison (21 points, 10 rebounds) paced the scoring for the Wings.
The Mystics host the Wings again at Entertainment and Sports Arena on Saturday. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast on Facebook.