Local SportsSportsWilliam J. Ford

Mystics Prepare for Playoff Push

With less than one month before the WNBA regular season ends Sept. 8, the Washington Mystics sit among the top teams in the league.

Prior to the Wednesday’s game against the Seattle Storm, the Mystics owned the best record in the league and were one game ahead of the Connecticut Sun in the Eastern Conference.

“We know we are going to make the playoffs,” Mystics head coach Mike Thibault said after practice Tuesday at the team’s practice gym in Southeast. “We worked hard to put ourselves in position to compete for a top-two seed. That’s the goal and that helps everybody stay focused.”

Besides the team’s top ranking in scoring, field goal percentage and 3-pointers made, Thibault has said the team’s depth will allow it to remain in first place.

Unfortunately, All-Star guard Kristi Toliver is out for the rest of the week with a right knee injury. Thibault said he doesn’t know if Toliver will travel with the team Friday for a road game against the Minnesota Lynx.

Aerial Powers started her second straight game Wednesday and third overall this season. Powers scored 20 points and pulled down five rebounds in more than 36 minutes in the team’s victory Sunday in the District against Minnesota.

Powers, who Washington acquired in a 2018 trade from the Dallas Wings, said her experience in D.C. has been a boost in her career.

“I have never been on a team that’s in first place,” said Powers, who made the WNBA All-Rookie team in 2016. “It’s a good feeling, but don’t let up. We need to keep winning games. Our whole team mentality is to attack. Whoever is next.”

Meanwhile, Mystics All-Star forward Elena Delle Donne garnered Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors, her fifth such recognition this season.

During the week of Aug. 2-11, Delle Donne led the team to a 3-0 record and averaged 22 points, nine rebounds and two assists per game. She’s also on the verge of winning a second MVP award.

“It would be amazing, especially to do it with this team,” she said. “I just love each and every teammate so much. When you get an award like that, it’s never an individual award. This isn’t an individual sport, so [teammates] have made this such a great season.”

As for the team goals, they remain simple.

“We really want to get that bye and a home-court advantage,” she said. “That’s where my mind is.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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