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Preview: Liberty host Mystics in Saturday WNBA matinee

The Mystics are going for the season sweep, while the Liberty will try to combine the successful elements of their previous meetings to pull off the win.

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The Washington Mystics, led by 2018 All-Stars Elena Delle Donne and Kristi Toliver, will try to end a two-game losing streak Saturday against the New York Liberty, who are looking to end an identical streak of their own.
Gary Dineen - NBAE

The Liberty are hosting the Mystics on Saturday afternoon in the final contest of a three-game season series. Here’s how to watch.

New York Liberty (7-16) vs. Washington Mystics (13-10)

When: Saturday, July 21 at 3 p.m. ET

Where: Westchester County Center | TICKETS

How to watch: NBA TV (national TV), MSG (New York-area TV), Monumental Network (D.C.-area TV)

Injuries: For the Liberty, Shavonte Zellous (ankle) is out and Epiphanny Prince (eye) is doubtful. For the Mystics, Natasha Cloud (concussion) is questionable.

Storylines to follow

Last meeting: Mystics 86, Liberty 67 (July 5)

The Liberty enter this game trying to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Mystics as they play host for the first and only time in the series. Both teams come into the game on a two-game losing streak, having both lost to the Atlanta Dream as well as the Dallas Wings during Liz Cambage’s record 88-point, two-game scoring effort.

The first meeting was winnable, by the Liberty’s standards, as they shot 50 percent to the Mystics’ 38.2 percent. But in that game, Elena Delle Donne sunk a buzzer-beating three to hand Washington the win. From New York’s perspective, it was an unlucky ending to a hard-fought game.

In these teams’ last meeting, however, the Mystics’ consistency was the key to the game, as they put up either 20 or 22 points in each quarter. Meanwhile, they whittled down the Liberty’s offense, eventually holding them to just 8 points in the fourth quarter to pull away for the win — no buzzer-beater needed. Washington held the edge in shooting there, 44.6 to 37.1 percent, and four Mystics players scored in double figures.

To win this game, New York needs to return to its own consistency that nearly landed them the win back on June 28. This will prove difficult if Epiphanny Prince is unable to play, as she led the team in scoring in that game, but if key bench players like Kia Nurse and Amanda Zahui B step up and support Tina Charles and the rest of the starting five, it won’t be impossible.

That said, Washington’s noted success from three — they briefly led the league in threes per game, but have since fallen to No. 2 — could pose a challenge for New York, as it did earlier in the series. If the Mystics find their stride from outside the arc in the same way they did when they scored 11 threes against the Liberty in their most recent meeting, this could end up being a simple sweep after all.