- Erica Blackburn
Despite a loss to the Lynx, the Mystics still hold the last playoff spot in the East
The Washington Mystics lost to the Minnesota Lynx, 93-75, on Saturday evening at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The Mystics have dropped six of their last nine since coming back from the Olympic break.
Mystics star Ariel Atkins came to play, showcasing her hot hand early in the game. The Lynx went on a mini run and closed out the first quarter, much to the chagrin of the Mystics, 24-19.
The wheels came off for the Mystics in the second quarter. Washington couldn’t get anything going offensively, scoring only 16 points to Minnesota’s 26. The Lynx went into halftime with a 15 point lead, 50-35.
The Mystics flipped the switch in the third quarter, scoring 27 points to the Lynx 16 points. The Mystics overcame the deficit and came within three points of tying the ball game. But the shooting woes struck again for the Mystics in the fourth quarter, and eventually Minnesota pulled away.
Ariel Atkins had a game-high 25 points. Tina Charles returned from her left gluteal strain and chipped in 12 points and 8 rebounds in 25 minutes. Natasha Cloud contributed 12 points, 6 assists, and 7 rebounds. Delle Donne re-aggravated her back last Thursday and hasn’t returned. It’s not clear when she will be able to play again or how healthy she will be. Myisha Hines-Allen was out due to a non-Covid related illness.
Thanks to the New York Liberty’s loss on Thursday night, the eighth-place Mystics occupy the last playoff spot. But Washington still has to face the Minnesota Lynx again, Seattle Storm, and Chicago Sky. The Mystics’ other two remaining games are against the Liberty and Atlanta Dream. If Washington wants to make a miracle run through the playoffs, they’re going to need to start stringing together wins now because the Liberty and Los Angeles Sparks are on their heels.