Taking the floor for the first of two meetings over a five-day span, the Mystics and Dream each try to end their respective slides on Wednesday night at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Sitting 10th in the league standings, defending league champion Washington (3-7) is severely in danger of missing the playoffs. Again, the Mystics are minus three of the game's best in Elena Delle Done, Natasha Cloud and Tina Charles. Plus, leading scorer Aerial Powers (16.3 points per game) is dealing with a hamstring issue.
They shot just 38.2 percent and went 8 of 28 from 3-point range, while allowing Las Vegas to hit almost 54 percent of their shots, during Sunday's 88-73 loss. It was the seventh consecutive loss for Washington, which, according to The Washington Post, became the first team in WNBA history to lose at least four in a row following a 3-0 start.
Despite the club's current struggles, Washington players, at least publicly, believe things can turn around this season. Though, obviously a tall order considering the Mystics have reached the 80-point mark just three times this season. Yet, there needs to be an attitude that exudes some form of confidence.
"We're tired of getting popped in the mouth first when we come into these games," forward Alaina Coates told The Post. "We want to pop somebody first. We're working on this mentality of just being more aggressive. Kind of having a bit more of a grittiness about ourselves."
Only two teams are behind the Mystics in the standings. One is Atlanta (2-9), which has dropped eight in a row following Sunday's 92-67 loss to Chicago. Courtney Williams (11.2 ppg) had 15 points for the Dream, who trailed by seven after one quarter and scored just 30 second-half points.
Ranked near the bottom of the league averaging 79 points, Atlanta remains without rookie and budding star Chennedy Carter (17.0 ppg), who is dealing with an ankle injury. They also had plenty of trouble defending the Sky, who shot 57.8 percent from the field and went 7 of 14 from beyond the 3-point arc.
"If you (can) defend and rebound and you run good offense … but we are certainly missing the pressure Chennedy Carter puts on the defense," coach Nicki Collen told the Dream's official website.
Atlanta has dropped four in a row to Washington. These teams will meet again on Sunday.