The 2021 WNBA regular season is only one month old, yet fans of the Washington Mystics hope the team can turn the page on a tough start and own the month of June. Right off the bat, they’ll have an opportunity to convince folks they’re better than their 2-4 record and continue building momentum. Washington’s first game of the month comes in front of a national TV audience (airing 6.5 on ABC at 1 p.m.) against one of the league’s top teams, the Las Vegas Aces.
“The team’s overall vibe is good, but no one is happy being 2-4,” head coach Mike Thibault says, speaking during Thursday’s media availability.
Playing without two-time league MVP Elena Delle Donne, the Mystics have struggled as a team on the offensive end. Through six games, they have posted the second-worst field goal percentage (38.4 percent) and third-worst three-point percentage (31.6 percent). Luckily, Washington’s first two games — both losses — bring their overall numbers down. Their last four games have all been competitive and they’re averaging 86 points per game during this stretch. By comparison, they only put up 53 points per game in their first two contests.
Tina Charles is the main reason why the Mystics have gotten things on track over the last two weeks. Charles has been the team’s go-to option and she is flat-out delivering. A former league MVP and seven-time all-star, Charles is playing some of the best basketball of her career. She leads the entire league in scoring with 26.7 points per game and no other player is even a close second. Across the last four games, she has scored at least 29 points in each and averaging 31 per game.
Longtime Mystics starter Ariel Atkins is leading the team in three-pointers (18) and her 16 points per game are second-best to Charles. No other Mystics player is averaging 10+ points per game.
Seeing Charles shine in her first year with Washington has fans dreaming about a potential pairing with Delle Donne. It’s a real possibility, too. CBS reported on Thursday that Elena Delle Donne is “aiming for a return this season.” After sitting the 2020 season out due to Covid-19 concerns and multiple back surgeries, she hasn’t appeared in a WNBA game since the Mystics won the title back in 2019.
Sydney Wiese, who’s played all six games so far for the Mystics this year, is out for the time being with an ankle injury, and Alysha Clark has already been ruled out for the season. Despite the tough luck, Charles tells reporters they “don’t make excuses for players being out.”
“It’s a work in progress,” Thibault adds.
District sports fans are used to seeing great jerseys around town, but Saturday the Mystics are raising the bar even higher. They will be debuting their “Rebel Edition” uniforms against Las Vegas, which both look great and bring attention to the team’s constant fight for equality.
“Our Rebel Edition uniform seeks to echo the historic moments for gender, racial and LGBTQ+ equality voiced throughout our Nation’s capital,” reads the Mystics’ official website.
The color scheme weaves traditional Mystics blue with beige and a red tone inspired by the 2017 women’s march. The design features the word “RISE” boldly on the front, an inscription of the 19th amendment, multiple special patches, and several other meaningful details.
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