It took the Sky four tries — including their preseason series with the Indiana Fever — to taste victory in 2019. But after Saturday’s victory against the defending-champion Seattle Storm, a game where just about everything went right, Chicago looks to take that same energy into tonight’s contest in the nation’s capital.
Washington, though, is boasting a similar energy, having soundly defeated the Atlanta Dream in their home opener last weekend. The Mystics seem like they could easily continue riding the momentum that comes from being undefeated on a brand-new court.
Both teams shot over 50 percent in their weekend games: Chicago at 51.4 percent and Washington at 56.7 percent. Each team had two standout scorers: Allie Quigley (25 points) and Diamond DeShields (21 points) for the Sky and Ariel Atkins (21 points) and Elena Delle Donne (18 points) for the Mystics. And if both teams can figure out how to continue this success for this game — especially the Sky — it could be close down the stretch.
The Mystics will be favored, mostly thanks to the return of Delle Donne to the lineup. Plus, Washington seems to already have grown into the new Entertainment and Sports Arena, as shown by the dominating performance in their home opener. It’s a far cry smaller than Capital One Arena, but likely better-suited to the gameday atmosphere they want to create.
Can Washington more firmly establish its all-new home-court advantage, or will the Sky pull off their first road win of the season? Here’s how to follow along and find out:
Chicago Sky (1-1) vs. Washington Mystics (1-1)
When: Wednesday, June 5, at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington, DC
How to watch: CBS Sports Network (national TV), NBC Sports Washington (regional market)
Keys to the matchup: Chicago’s big win over Seattle was mostly due to the play of its starters, who scored all but 13 of its points. Meanwhile, Washington’s first two games saw its bench score 37.6 and 42.7 percent of its points (that jump likely attributable to Emma Meesseman’s switch to the bench in Elena Delle Donne’s return). In the Sky’s first game, a loss to the Lynx, the bench scored more than half of the team’s points — but only because its starters weren’t getting the job done. Washington’s depth will likely be on full display once more, but Chicago still has to prove that it doesn’t only rely on its bench when its starters aren’t having top-grade outings.