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May 20, 2024 8:38 pm

Mystics, Sparks look to end winless starts to season

Dearica Hamby

The Washington Mystics and Los Angeles Sparks are both looking for their first win of the season.

One of the squads will get that elusive victory on Tuesday night when the Mystics face the Sparks in Long Beach, Calif.

Washington (0-3) dropped its third game on Sunday when it fell 84-75 at home against the Seattle Storm. Los Angeles (0-2) took its second straight setback when it lost 89-82 to the host Las Vegas Aces on Saturday.

The Sparks will try to get things moving in the right direction in the opener of a three-game homestand.

Meanwhile, the struggling Mystics are opening a stretch of three straight road games, and they will be away from home for five of their next six contests.

The upcoming schedule made Sunday’s loss feel more devastating. Especially since Washington was outscored 22-11 in the final quarter.

“Clearly we have to get better, especially at the start of that fourth quarter,” Mystics coach Eric Thibault said. “Three games is definitely a trend. Some of it would help if we made a couple open layups when they’re there because a lot of times those lead to run-outs the other way when you don’t make them.

“I’ve got to look at what we’re running, obviously, and the group that’s playing together. We’ve got to take a look at it and be honest with ourselves. And some of it’s just execution. We’ve got to realize how a team’s playing us.”

Ariel Atkins scored 19 points to lead the Mystics, who played without Brittney Sykes (ankle) and Shakira Austin (hip). Sykes will make the road trip and Austin is expected to play Tuesday.

Los Angeles put up a big fight against the two-time defending champion Aces before succumbing.

The Sparks trailed by as many as 13, and some sloppy play hurt the cause. Los Angeles committed 18 turnovers that led to 25 points for Las Vegas.

Dearica Hamby, who previously played for the Aces, starred with 29 points on 12-of-16 shooting and also collected nine rebounds and three steals in the loss.

Hamby is averaging 24.5 points and 11.5 rebounds over two games. Kia Nurse is second with a scoring average of 18.0.

Hamby is also increasing her leadership role.

“It’s the mental thing, that’s what you have to reach the rookies about,” she said. “You have to spend a lot of time in prep and film work and being mentally locked in.”

Atkins leads the Mystics with 15.7 points per game.

–Field Level Media

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