The Washington Mystics continue to play hard even amid their roughest stretch of the season.
That likely won't change when the visiting Mystics try to prevent their season-high skid from reaching four games Friday night against an Indiana Fever team that's in danger of matching the single-season club record for consecutive home defeats.
Washington (9-6) was feeling good amid a five-game winning streak that appeared to be headed for six before its visit to Las Vegas on July 5 was postponed at halftime because of an earthquake in Southern California that was felt in Nevada. The Mystics were ahead in that contest, but have followed with three straight defeats.
That included losing star Elena Delle Donne to a broken nose at Los Angeles on July 7. Washington, 0-4 without Delle Donne on the floor in 2019, has allowed an average of 91.3 points during the three-game losing streak.
The Mystics led by as many as 15 in the first quarter of Saturday's rematch with Vegas at home, but the Aces came back with a 27-point second quarter and handed the hosts an 85-81 loss. Washington shot just 38.9 percent and went 7 of 28 from 3-point range, but the effort never waned.
"For us, it's just challenging ourselves to be better," guard Natasha Cloud, who had a team-high 18 points, said as posted on the Mystics' official Facebook page. "Mistakes are inevitable, we're never going to be perfect in this game. But, I'll take how hard we played any day."
As Washington looks to avoid losing four in a row for the first time since 2016, it still awaits the return of Delle Donne. A picture of the All-Star forward sporting a protective mask, apparently at practice, was posted on the Mystics' official Facebook page this week. Whether that means she'll be available Friday is unknown.
Regardless who is on the court for the Mystics, they should feel good about their chances against an Indiana team that's lost three in a row and won once in eight games. Kelsey Mitchell scored 14 points as the Fever (6-12) missed all 16 of their 3-point attempts in a 76-63 loss to Connecticut on Sunday.
It was the seventh consecutive home defeat for Indiana, which last won there against Dallas on June 7. The Fever dropped a franchise-worst eight straight at home in 2000.
"We're a really good mid-range shooting team," coach Pokey Chatman told the Fever's official website. "We have to stay true to who we are, and get those comfort 3s and not contested 3s."
Indiana veteran Candice Dupree had 11 points last weekend to pass Lisa Leslie for sixth on the WNBA career scoring list.