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Preview: Mystics should expect heat against the Sun tonight

Eastern Conference Player of the Week Jonquel Jones will look to continue dominating the boards to help her Sun get past the Washington Mystics. Rounding out Tuesday’s three-game slate: Storm face the Fever and Mercury play the Sky.

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The Connecticut Sun hope to stay in the No. 1 spot in the standings after tonight’s matchup with the Mystics. But Washington is on a four-game winning streak and unlikely to go down without a fight.
Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

The WNBA returns to action on Tuesday with a three-game slate. The Washington Mystics host the Connecticut Sun, the Seattle Storm play the Indiana Fever on the road and the Phoenix Mercury visit the Chicago Sky.

Last time out for the Mystics and Sun

The Mystics and Sun enter the game on high notes after recent big wins. Connecticut leads the pack in the WNBA standings with five wins (and one loss); the Sun has won their last three games. Washington Mystics are second in the standings with a 4-1 record.

Last time out, the Mystics’ bench came up big with a combined 39 points from Tianna Hawkins and Aerial Powers against the Dallas Wings. The Sun, meanwhile, enter this game after beating the Atlanta Dream on Sunday — powered by a double-double from Alyssa Thomas and another from Jonquel Jones. Having recorded double-doubles in most outings this season, Jones was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week.

Last time out for the Storm and Fever

The Fever came up short against the Mercury on Sunday, but they managed to trim a double-digit Phoenix lead to just seven points in an impressive comeback attempt. Against the seasoned Mercury, rookie Kennedy Burke — who had been waived by the Dallas Wings at the roster-cut deadline — came up big off the bench with 18 points. True to her performance at UCLA, Burke scored the majority of those points from beyond the three-point line. She was 4-of-4 from deep. Second-year player Kelsey Mitchell came up huge for the starters with 26 points. But youth and inexperience saw the Fever off to a slow start against a high basketball IQ team. The experience of the 2014 champion Mercury won out. But the Fever should be considered a threat for the Storm. They were almost successful against Phoenix. No lead is safe; no team is safe.

The Storm, meanwhile, lost to the Chicago Sky on Sunday, 78 to 71. The Storm started the season hot on the night they received their championship rings. Since then, however, they have struggled and now are at a 3-3 record and seventh in the standings. Against the Sky, Natasha Howard and Jewell Loyd scored 20 points apiece, but they did not have much help from their teammates. All other players, including starters Alysha Clark, Mercedes Russell and Jordin Canada, all were limited to single-digit scoring. To get past a feisty Fever team that is not afraid of the Storm’s status as the defending champion, other players for Seattle will need to step up big.

Last time out for the Mercury and Sky

The Mercury got a big win over the weekend against the Indiana Fever with Britney Griner bouncing back from a single-digit scoring performance against the Lynx on Friday night to contribute a game-high 26 points. She was helped by DeWanna Bonner, who scored 25 points to cement an extraordinary week of basketball for the Western Conference Player of the Week award. Shooting guard Briann January scored 16 points on 50 percent shooting from the three-point range and 50 percent shooting from the field. Joining them in double-digit scoring was Leilani Mitchell off the bench with 17 points.

Last time out for Chicago, the Sky defeated the Storm 78-71 at home behind Cheyenne Parker’s team-high 18 points. Stefanie Dolson had one of the better games we’ve seen in a while, with 15 points, and Courtney Vandersloot scored 11. The Sky will be without the services of rookie Katie Lou Samuelson, who has been ruled out indefinitely with a hand injury. To have a chance at getting past the size and physicality of the Mercury, Diamond DeShields will need to do better than seven points and Allie Quigley will need to step up beyond the arc to stretch the floor. Her four points against the Storm on Sunday probably will not cut it against the Mercury tonight.

Here’s how to watch the games:

Game information

Mystics (4-1) at Sun (5-1)

When: Tuesday, June 11, at 7:00 p.m. ET

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT | TICKETS

How to watch: CBS Sports Network, NESN+, Monumental

Storm (2-2) at Fever (3-2)

When: Tuesday, June 11, at 7:00 p.m. ET

Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN | TICKETS

How to watch: Twitter

Mercury (2-2) at Sky (2-2)

When: Tuesday, June 11, at 8:00 p.m. ET

Where: Wintrust Arena, Chicago, IL | TICKETS

How to watch: WNBA League Pass, U TOO