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Jun 5, 2024 9:23 pm

Winless Mystics hope to snap skid against slumping Sky

angel reese

The Washington Mystics have lost a franchise-record nine straight games to start the 2024 WNBA season. On Thursday, they will aim to finally crack the win column when the Chicago Sky visit for an evening clash.

In their latest game — a road defeat against the Connecticut Sun in Commissioner’s Cup play on Tuesday — the Mystics (0-9) scored a season-low 59 points.

The only bright spot for Washington was seeing rookie Aaliyah Edwards tally a season-high 14 points along with nine rebounds in 28 minutes. A product of nearby UConn selected sixth overall in the 2024 WNBA Draft, Edwards seemed right at home in Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena — the same venue where she helped lead the Huskies to a Big East title a few months ago.

What Edwards is not accustomed to is losing this much and this often. UConn lost a total of just 20 games over Edwards’ four seasons, and the Huskies never had more than six losses in a single season while she was playing for Geno Auriemma.

“I’m glad of how I was able to (play),” Edwards told the Washington Post. “My teammates were finding me. I was able to finish. But (one person can’t) win a game — it’s a team collective.”

So far this season, the Mystics are last in the league in scoring at 72.3 points per game. Washington is also second to last in shooting defense, allowing opponents to make 46.2 percent of their field-goal attempts.

If Washington doesn’t snap out of its slump, the club might find itself in good position to draft Edwards’ former UConn teammate — guard Paige Bueckers — with the No. 1 overall pick in 2025.

“I think that it’s important we don’t carry the weight of the whole season into every game,” Mystics coach Eric Thibault said. “You’ve got to feel a little bit of desperation and urgency, but you’ve got to play the game that’s in front of you.”

Things haven’t gone so well, either, for the Sky (3-5) recently. Not only has Chicago lost four of its past five games, but it has also been plagued a bit by controversy.

Chennedy Carter’s hip-check on Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark — which was later upgraded to a flagrant foul — sent media personalities on cable and the internet into a frenzy on Saturday. Then, on Tuesday against the New York Liberty, Sky rookie forward Angel Reese was assessed a double technical and ejected for “disrespectfully” addressing the referee and then waving her hand in dismissal of the call, according to the pool report.

Reese’s second technical was rescinded on Wednesday.

“Whatever (the referee) felt was the correct call, he made,” Sky guard Marina Mabrey said after the game. “It’s more about composure for us in our young years in the WNBA. You have to get to know the refs and how they respond to things.”

When Reese has been on the court, she has played well for the Sky, averaging nearly a double-double with 10.9 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Chicago’s matchup against Washington will pit former LSU star Reese in the post against Edwards — who was taken one selection ahead of her in the draft.

The Mystics’ game against the Sky will be played at the 20,356-seat Capital One Arena, instead of the Mystics’ typical home venue, the 4,200-seat Entertainment & Sports Arena. Ticket demand is expected to be high with Reese — a native of nearby Baltimore County — returning close to her hometown to play.

–Field Level Media

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