WNBA: Mystics look to put final nail in Fever’s long season


The Washington Mystics have reached the end of the regular season with plenty of reasons to be thankful even though they must begin the playoffs on the road.

The regular season comes to a close Sunday afternoon against the Indiana Fever in Washington with standout forward Elena Delle Donne seeming to be in ideal form.

“I’m so excited to be finishing off the season,” Delle Donne said. “Just continuing to climb and feel great.”

The Mystics (21-14) are locked into the fifth seed for the first round of the WNBA playoffs, beginning that quest Thursday at Seattle. They’ll only have a chance for a home game in that best-of-three series if a Game 3 is necessary.

Sunday’s game is a rematch of Friday night’s 82-70 victory for the Mystics in Indianapolis. Washington snapped a two-game skid.

“Some good, (some) things we could have been better at,” Mystics coach Mike Thibault said.

Delle Donne poured in 24 points in that game for Washington, giving her 20 or more points in a team-best nine games. The plan to manage her workload seems to have panned out well for the Mystics.

“I’m very proud of it,” Delle Donne said. “I’m proud of the people that have trusted in me and gave me the time and space that I need to get myself right. It has been such a group effort. It has been a belief from my teammates in the days and games that I’ve been out.”

The Mystics’ bid to move to the No. 4 seed was dashed when Seattle won Friday night at Minnesota.

Washington has swept all three meetings this season with the Fever (5-30), who are guaranteed to finish with the worst record in the league.

Indiana carries a franchise-worst 17-game losing streak into the game, a string that ties a WNBA record for futility.

“I’ve seen consistent improvement,” Fever interim general manager Lin Dunn said. “I’ve seen growth in the rookies. I’ve seen us compete from the beginning to the end. … It just takes time (for a rebuild). There aren’t any shortcuts.”

Fever rookie Queen Egbo missed Friday’s home finale after sustaining a knee injury during pregame warmups. Emily Engstler led four Indiana players in double figures with 18 points on 6-of-6 shooting.

–Field Level Media

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