The Chicago Sky and Washington Mystics both have battled injuries and inconsistency this summer.
Despite those hardships, the WNBA postseason is on the horizon for the Sky, who clinched a playoff berth last week, while the Mystics are in a tussle for the league’s final playoff spot.
With three games remaining in the regular season, that serves as the backdrop as Chicago (15-14) hosts Washington (11-18) at Wintrust Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The Mystics are coming off Friday’s 82-74 home win against Atlanta, sparked by a double-double from Tina Charles, who contributed 26 points and 16 rebounds. Washington pulled into a tie with the New York Liberty for the No. 8 seed with the victory. The Liberty were set to visit Dallas, a fellow playoff contender, Saturday night.
“We needed this,” said the Mystics’ Natasha Cloud, who chipped in 13 points, six assists and four steals Friday. “We needed the momentum. We needed the confidence. We needed this game. We are very aware of where we are in the standings. We’re very aware that we’re fighting for our lives to get in the playoffs.”
Chicago has been idle since a 92-84 home win against Las Vegas on Sept. 5. The Sky sealed their third playoff trip in as many seasons under coach James Wade and are poised to keep jelling as they enter the postseason.
“It’s been tough, but I mean, listen, you play the hand you’re dealt. I know that from my entire career,” said Chicago’s Candace Parker, who joined her hometown team in the offseason. “Have things always been fair? No. But guess what, it’s what it is, you know. The sun comes up the next day. You’ve got to keep going.
“Obviously, we had expectations of not clinching now, maybe clinching ahead of time and maybe being in a different spot, but it is what it is. I think we have a resilient team and we’ve learned from it, and going into postseason, I think we’re in a position to be able to get momentum and to be playing well.”
Charles surpassed Rebekkah Brunson as the second-leading rebounder in league history Friday. Sylvia Fowles holds the top spot.
The season series between the Sky and Mystics is tied at one game apiece, with each team winning on the other’s home floor.
Former Sky standout Elena Delle Donne (back) is expected to miss Sunday’s game for the Mystics, along with teammates Ariel Atkins (personal reasons) and Myisha Hines-Allen (non-COVID-19 illness).
–Field Level Media