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Connecticut Sun vs. Washington Mystics,
6/26/18 - WNBA Prediction and Preview

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The top two teams in the Eastern Conference of the WNBA take the floor in the nation’s capital with first place at stake. The Connecticut Sun heads down the east coast as they battle the Washington Mystics Tuesday night. Connecticut stopped a four game slide as they upended Indiana 87-78 on the road Sunday afternoon. Washington won their second straight as they defeated Chicago 93-77 on the road Friday in their last contest. The teams split two previous meetings, with Connecticut winning 88-64 on the road June 3 and Washington answering with a 95-91 road triumph June 13.

Connecticut Sun Seeks Back to Back Wins, Sole Possession of First Place

Connecticut started the season hot at 7-1 but dropped four straight games before chilling the last-place Fever on the road Sunday. The Sun improved to 8-5 and they enter this one tied with Washington atop the Eastern Conference standings. Connecticut was in a seesaw contest for the opening three quarters as they went from up five after one quarter to down two at the half before taking a two point edge after three quarters. The Sun opened the fourth on a 13-2 run to go up 75-62 with 6:58 to go and that put things away. Connecticut shot 48.6 percent from the floor and hit eight of 17 three point attempts while going 11 of 14 at the stripe. The Sun controlled the glass by a 37-27 margin as well. Rachel Banham led Connecticut with 20 points off the bench while Brionna Jones chipped in 18 points plus 10 boards.

The Sun is leading the league in scoring offense as they put up an average of 88.7 points per game so far this season. Connecticut leads the league in rebounding (37.2 boards a night) while they stand fourth by dishing out 19.2 assists a game on the year. The Sun is in the middle of the pack defensively as they are tied for sixth in scoring defense by allowing an average of 81.2 points per game. Chiney Ogwumike leads Connecticut with 15.2 points plus 7.8 rebounds per contest. Jasmine Thomas puts up 14.1 points plus 4.7 assists a game, Courtney Williams chips in 12.5 points plus six boards a night and Alyssa Thomas is good for 12 points, 9.9 boards and 4.7 assists per game. Alex Bentley, Jonquel Jones, Shekinna Strickland, Rachel Banham, Brionna Jones and Morgan Tuck are all key cogs in the high octane Sun offensive attack. Connecticut is fifth in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 45.4 percent as a team. The Sun is fourth in three pointers per game (7.4) and tied for sixth in three point percentage (34 percent) on the year. Connecticut has sputtered at the charity stripe as they convert on 73.9 percent of their attempts, which is last in the league.

Washington Mystics Look to Win Third Straight Contest

Washington has back to back wins in their pocket coming into this contest as they jumped all over Chicago early and then put it away late. The Mystics improved to 8-5 on the year with the win and are tied with the Sun for the top record in the Eastern Conference. Washington led by 11 after the opening quarter and by 25 at the half to take command of the game. The Mystics saw their lead sliced to six with 6:36 to play but outscored the Sky 13-3 the rest of the way. Washington shot 51.5 percent from the field, including 10 of 23 from three point range, in the victory. The hot shooting, plus forcing 19 turnovers, helped the Mystics overcome 19 turnovers of their own. Elena Della Donne led Washington with 30 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the win.

The Mystics are the third-highest scoring team in the league with an average of 84.5 points per contest this season. Washington comes in 10th in the league in rebounding (31.2 boards per game) and is 10th in assists by handing out 16.4 dimes a night. Elena Della Donne is the Mystics’ leading scorer as she puts up 19.1 points plus 6.8 boards a game. Kristi Toliver (14.8 points, 4.2 assists) and Ariel Atkins (10.6 points) each are averaging in double figures as well. Tianna Hawkins, Monique Currie, Natasha Cloud, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Krystal Thomas all have to contribute on the offensive end of the floor. Washington is third in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 45.8 percent from the floor as a team. The Mystics are second in threes per game (eight) and three point percentage (36 percent) on the year. Washington is excellent at the charity stripe as they are second in the league by sinking 83.3 percent of their chances this season.

Trends:

Connecticut

  • Sun are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games
  • Sun are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall
  • Sun are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. Eastern Conference

Washington

  • Mystics are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. Eastern Conference
  • Mystics are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 Tuesday games

The teams split two games earlier this season with each team winning on the road. Connecticut won in a rout here a little more than three weeks ago but Della Donne didn’t play in that contest. When the teams met 10 days later at the Mohegan Sun Arena, she did play, pouring in 36 points on 13 of 22 shooting and was virtually unstoppable. This one has the makings of another track meet with both teams going up and down the floor piling up points. In the end, Della Donne is the difference as the Mystics pick up a tough win at home here.

Pick: Washington Mystics

Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.

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