Earlier this season, today’s games might have looked like eventual easy wins for the clearly more dominant teams. The beginning of June saw the Mystics demolish the Sky in Washington DC, while the Wings had yet to win a game and the Sun had just one loss.
Now, on a surface level, a lot can be written off about these starts and their implications today. The Mystics are still favored because their losses have been pretty good ones, all things considered — the first-place Sun twice, and the defending-champion Storm once.
The Sky are widely considered to be Surprisingly Good™ so far, but despite their third-place showing, they’ve struggled to close out many of their wins. Is a change of scenery really all Chicago needs to take down Washington, just as they did to Seattle twice as well as the first-place Sun on Sunday?
Meanwhile, Connecticut will be reeling from their weekend loss in Chicago, and the Wings are an excellent candidate for them to take it out on. Dallas has just two wins, a mini-streak they followed with a big loss in Las Vegas on Saturday.
While the Mercury and Dream — both currently out of playoff contention — are hardly the solid wins the Wings want, tasting victory is an important step. And, although the rosters looked quite different in the preseason, Dallas has technically done that against Connecticut already this summer. Tapping into that mentality will be important for the Wings to stay competitive tonight.
Here’s how to follow today’s games:
Washington Mystics (7-3) vs. Chicago Sky (6-3)
When: Wednesday, June 26, at 12 p.m. ET
Where: Wintrust Arena, Chicago, IL
How to watch: NBA TV, Monumental Sports Network (DC-area TV)
Keys to the matchup: What didn’t work for the Sky against the Mystics the first time? Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley being held to five total points (all Vandersloot’s). What did (kind of) work? Limiting Elena Delle Donne to 12 points ... while letting Kristi Toliver score a team-high 19 points. Chicago will be somewhat helped by the absences of Emma Meesseman and Kim Mestdagh to EuroBasket Women, though the two only had a combined 15 points against the Sky. The June 5 meeting between these teams remains the only time this season Chicago has given up more than 100 points, so while getting Vandersloot and Quigley hot again will help, limiting the Mystics’ scoring will be key to preserving a stellar home record.
Connecticut Sun (9-2) vs. Dallas Wings (2-6)
When: Wednesday, June 26, at 8 p.m. ET
Where: College Park Center, Arlington, TX
How to watch: NBA TV, FOX Sports Southwest Plus, NESN (New England-area TV)
Keys to the matchup: The Wings are 2-2 since re-signing Megan Gustafson, so maybe just play her more and — okay, it’s not that simple. Dallas is still figuring out its identity this season, “roster challenges” notwithstanding, so this will be an uphill battle against the league’s best team. But while the Sun are obviously good, most their wins haven’t been comfortable, barn-burning routs, instead letting teams like the last-place Dream get a little too close for comfort. To win this game at the margin they’ll want to, Connecticut simply must not play down to Dallas’ level. With only those two Dream wins representing their efforts against the bottom four teams — both of which were within 10 points — it’ll be interesting to see how the Sun handle a team with plenty of talent, but not much going for it lately. (Now, back to Gustafson, as well as Sun guard Bridget Carleton: Who’s ready for CyHawk-in-the-WNBA, round two?)