The Washington Mystics and the host Seattle Storm are both struggling as they prepare to meet Tuesday night.
The difference is that defending WNBA champion Seattle already has clinched a playoff berth while the Mystics are in a four-team battle for the two remaining playoff spots.
The Storm (19-10) stopped a three-game losing streak when they rallied for an 85-75 home win against New York last Thursday. The Storm won despite making just 2 of 14 3-pointers.
That continued a recent trend that includes a poor shooting performance in a 107-75 loss to Chicago on Aug. 29.
“We’re defying the odds, that’s for sure,” said Breanna Stewart, who has made just 6 of 32 3-pointers in her past seven games. “We had the mentality before the game that we really wanted to get the ball into the paint.”
Stewart made 12 of 22 shots and 9 of 11 free throws in scoring a game-high 33 points against the Liberty.
“She willed herself to score and defend,” Storm coach Noelle Quinn said. “From the tip, she was getting bumped and pushed. I thought she fought through the physicality and was physical back.”
The Mystics (10-17) welcomed back league-leading scorer Tina Charles from a four-game absence due to a sore left hip but fell to host Minnesota 93-75 on Saturday for their seventh loss in nine games.
Elena Delle Donne (back) and Myisha Hines-Allen (non-COVID-19 illness) did not travel, and Charles, Theresa Plaisance and Erica McCall were on minutes restrictions.
Charles had 12 points and eight rebounds in 25 minutes, but Washington trailed by as many as 23 points.
“Even Tina at not 100 percent is a big plus for us, having her back out on the floor,” coach Mike Thibault said. “This is typical of our season. It’s just the way everything has been. It’s like real life. Stuff gets thrown at you, and it’s how you handle it. You can moan and groan about it, but it doesn’t change anything.”
–Field Level Media