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Preview: Mystics look to regain first place against Aces

Washington will try to bounce back at home as they take on first-place Las Vegas. The Mystics are coming off of a double-digit loss to the Mercury, while the Aces just beat the Fever by three points.

The Washington Mystics look to avoid losing their third straight game of the season as they take on the Las Vegas Aces.
Zackery Rogers

Tonight, the Washington Mystics (9-5) host the first-place Las Vegas Aces (10-5). The last time these two teams met, Mother Nature took over in the form of an earthquake that was felt from Southern California to Las Vegas.

That game ended up being suspended at halftime, but the teams will take the floor again tonight in Washington, D.C. Before the earthquake, the Mystics were shooting 58.8 percent from the floor and dominating the Aces.

A’ja Wilson and Liz Cambage were having a solid game, but the Mystics’ balanced attack from their starters and bench overshadowed the duo’s performance. As of now, the series is 1-0 in favor of the Mystics after they defeated the Aces back in June.

This game will come down to ball movement, defense and roster depth, considering both teams have so much firepower. But the edge may go to the Aces, since the Mystics may be without Elena Delle Donne, who suffered a nasal fracture on Sunday.

The good news for Washington is that Emma Meesseman and Kim Mestdagh have returned from EuroBasket Women and could suit up Saturday.

Game information

Washington Mystics (9-5) vs. Las Vegas Aces (10-5)

When: Saturday, July 13, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington, D.C.

How to watch: CBS Sports Network, Monumental Sports Network

Keys to the matchup: The Mystics are coming off their second consecutive blowout loss, while the Aces just celebrated their fourth consecutive win. Each team has one 2019 All-Star captain in Delle Donne and Wilson, but only one may play tonight. In order for the Mystics to win, especially without Delle Donne, they need a strong performance from their bench. But the X-factor will be Meesseman, if she plays. She has the ability to help the team space the floor, score and set other players up. The Aces, meanwhile, need strong performances from the entire starting lineup in order to capitalize on this potentially shorthanded Mystics team. Whichever team can get to the free throw line and convert turnovers into points will win the right to first place.