After the Washington Mystics and Connecticut Sun played a highly entertaining WNBA Finals series to the limit, they're ready to square off for the first time during this unique 2020 season.
The setting Tuesday night for this Finals rematch will be within the "Wubble" of the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Fans of the game certainly enjoyed time well spent when these clubs played an intense five-game series in late September-early October. In the end, thanks to the play of Emma Meesseman, the Mystics prevailed in five games to claim their first WNBA title.
Now, amid a much different environment where the coronavirus pandemic has consumed the nation and social justice issues are almost equally as prominent, the Mystics and Sun meet on a neutral floor without fans. Also, much is different about the overall look of both teams from that title series.
Each squad is minus arguably their best players.
Washington's Elena Delle Donne is dealing with a back issue and Connecticut forward Jonquel Jones has opted out of the season due to coronavirus concerns. Thus, there is some noticeable star power missing.
"The (Sun) team we saw last year, is not there this year. Same for us," Meesseman, who averaged 17.8 points during the 2019 Finals, told the Wizards' official website. "It's going to be two new teams that are going to have a new identity, as well."
Even without Delle Donne, Natasha Cloud (opted out of season) and veteran newcomer Tina Charles (medically excused for the season), Washington (1-0) opened the campaign with a 101-76 rout of Indiana on Saturday. Myisha Hines-Allen recorded career highs of 27 points with 10 rebounds while Meesseman and Aerial Powers each scored 14 as the Mystics shot almost 60 percent as a team.
The Sun (0-1), meanwhile, weren't as fortunate as the Mystics in their season opener. Alyssa Thomas had 20 points and key addition DeWanna Bonner scored 19, but Connecticut was unable to hold an 11-point second-half advantage en route to a 77-69 loss to Minnesota on Sunday.
Connecticut, which was outscored 27-12 in the fourth quarter in its opener, also shot a weak 34.8 percent from the field, was 2 of 19 from beyond the 3-point arc and 21 of 30 from the free-throw line.
"We're just not used to playing with each other and our tendencies," coach Curt Miller said as posted on the Sun's official Facebook page. "At times we looked good. But again, when we couldn't get stuff we were looking for early, this group is going to have to learn to play out of the system and out of plays better."