Tina Charles was the lone star available for the Washington Mystics on Friday night and she went off for 26 points and 16 rebounds in an 82-74 win over the Atlanta Dream that moved her team back into an eighth-place tie with the New York Liberty and eliminated Atlanta from playoff contention.
Elena Delle Donne (back) missed the game and is questionable to return for Washington (11-18) at all this season. Myisha Hines-Allen (non-COVID-related illness) and Ariel Atkins (personal) were also out.
Not good Mystics news from Mike Thibault: Elena Delle Donne (back) probably not playing tomorrow and not sure bout the rest of the season. She’s not practicing and some nerve pain has flared up as a byproduct of the back problem. That was an issue post surgery. #wnba— Kareem Copeland (@kareemcopeland) September 9, 2021
Could Charles have just enough left in the tank to lead Washington to the playoffs in spite of all the absences this season? Friday was certainly a step in the right direction.
“I think the team needs a player like me every night, I don’t see that my role is less because players are here,” Charles said. “Coach T (Mike Thibault) wanted me here for a reason, he told me to be myself and that’s what I’ve been able to do all season long. I want them, I want us to get together and play more together and have more time out there on the court, but when the team is here I still have the same mindset to attack and pick my spots when I’m open.”
During the contest, Charles became the No. 2 rebounder in WNBA history, passing former Sacramento Monarchs and Minnesota Lynx star Rebekkah Brunson. Charles trails only current Minnesota star Sylvia Fowles, who broke Brunson’s record last year.
“It’s very unfortunate that (Brunson) was left off of that Top 25,” Charles said. “Rebekkah Brunson is one of the dominant players. ... She just set the tone for rebounding. So to go past Rebekkah Brunson, I think it’s more so about her and just how she set the tone.”
Theresa Plaisance added 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists to the winning cause while Natasha Cloud was good for 13 points, six helpers and four steals. Courtney Williams notched 23 points and six boards in defeat as the Dream fell to 7-22.
Minnesota Lynx (19-10) over Indiana Fever (6-22), 89-72
The Fever led by one after one but again faltered as a game progressed. Minnesota’s Aerial Powers recorded her third game in a row scoring exactly 20 points after averaging 9.4 through her first eight appearances. Sylvia Fowles added 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists, four steals and five blocks while Kayla McBride (15 points) and Natalie Achonwa (10 points) also scored in double figures.
Jantel Lavender had a solid game for Indiana with 15 points and nine boards while Tiffany Mitchell (three assists) paced the Fever with 16 points.