The big question coming out of Game 2 was whether or not Elena Delle Donne would be available for the Washington Mystics in today’s WNBA Finals Game 3 after suffering a disc herniation in her back. Both Delle Donne and Ariel Atkins are listed as a questionable for today’s game, but based on Saturday’s news from the Mystics practice, Delle Donne and Atkins are not anticipated to be available. Atkins is recovering from a non-basketball related back injury that occurred on Thursday.
If the Mystics are indeed without Delle Donne and Atkins, they have a tough task ahead of them. Although Atkins was largely ineffective on the offensive end in their last matchup, the Mystics would be down one of their better defenders. Delle Donne only played three-and-a-half minutes in Game 2, but her presence was likely missed most in the rebounding game. Without her, the Connecticut Sun hauled in 17 rebounds that resulted 27 second-chance points.
The Mystics will need to find an additional scoring option outside of Emma Meesseman, who was the Mystics’ leading scorer in Game 2. Washington has been involved in high-scoring affairs throughout the playoffs, but if they want to win without their top scorer, others will need to get going offensively.
The Sun solved their main problem from Game 1 by dropping their personal fouls from 21 to 12 in Game 2. That kept the Mystics off the line, and the Sun’s activity on the offensive boards generated a lot of offensive action. Jonquel Jones had her best game of the playoffs with 32 points and 18 rebounds, and it remains to be seen if anyone on the Mystics’ roster can challenge her rebounding prowess with Delle Donne out.
With the Sun’s outstanding home record, the Mystics have a tough test ahead.
No. 2 Connecticut Sun (1-1) vs. No. 1 Washington Mystics (1-1)
When: Sunday, Oct. 6, at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT
How to watch: ABC
Keys to the matchup: Down two starters, the Mystics are going to have to come together and play with a lot of energy to offset the dominance that the Sun showed in the paint in Game 2. Meanwhile, the Sun have a chance to close out the championship at home, and that starts with a Game 3 victory. But Connecticut must be careful to not overlook the shorthanded Mystics.