WELCOME TO THE SERENGETI: Washington Mystics vs New York Liberty Preview
The Washington Mystics are in the playoffs. It has been hell for the team, as they have dealt with many injuries. The Mystics, however, have prevailed through all the toughest moments.
The Mystics face the New York Liberty in a best of three game series first round matchup.
The Keys To Victory!
How does Shakira Austin’s injury impact the series?
Head Coach Eric Thibault stated that Shakira Austin will miss the first two games of the matchup, as she is still receiving further testing and getting a second opinion. Austin has dealt with a hip injury since June 25, and they aggravated it when the Mystics played the Las Vegas Aces on August 31st.
This hurts the Mystics as Shakira’s defense makes a huge impact for Mystics.
Mystics Defense with Austin: 89.3 defensive rating
Mystics Defense without Austin: 103.2 defensive rating
But it is fair to mention that the team was dealing with multiple injuries. So it is going to be interesting to see how Washington will defend the paint and limit the fouls and getting to the line.
Washington’s Guard Play will be key!
The Guards took control of the offense with the injuries, and against a team like New York. Della Donne is going to need others around her to step up. Everything starts with Natasha Cloud. As a point guard and a floor general, is the key. Brittney Sykes, who was Washington’s free agent signing, is also key in this series. Ariel Atkins is also going to be key. All of that saying in the beginning of the season, the guards struggled to score. The offense is going to take to go as far as the guards go.
Everything is on the table
The Mystics are an underdog to win this series, and the Mystics can beat the New York Liberty. That being said, the season series says otherwise. The Mystics went 1-3 against New York even with a roster that was dealt a bad hand of injuries. This is the last season to see if this core can make something shake. A good majority of this team will be free agents.
Prediction: New York Liberty def Washington Mystics in three.