Washington Mystics vs. Connecticut Sun Pick & Prediction MAY 21st 2023

Stadium: Mohegan Sun Arena Uncasville
Logo Washington Mystics
Logo Connecticut Sun

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The Washington Mystics firmly stood their ground against the WNBA's newest super team to begin the 2023 season.

Meanwhile, the Connecticut Sun avoided a fourth-quarter collapse to spoil the debut of the league's No. 1 overall pick.

Both squads will aim to build on Friday's season-opening wins when the Mystics and Sun meet on Sunday in Uncasville, Conn.

Washington glided past the visiting New York Liberty 80-64 on Friday night behind a stout defensive display against a team many consider a title favorite.

The Mystics stifled former MVPs Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones, both of whom the Liberty acquired in the offseason, to a combined 17 points on 5-for-16 (31.3 percent) shooting.

Washington also forced four of New York's 22 turnovers from newly acquired Courtney Vandersloot, the league's all-time assists average leader, and held returning star Sabrina Ionescu to 18 points on a dreary 7-for-20 (35 percent) mark in the statement win.

"Y'all can keep sleeping," Mystics guard Natasha Cloud told The Washington Post. "We're confident in what we have in this locker room. And you can continue to talk about the superhero teams, but we know who we are."

Cloud and Ariel Atkins scored 14 points apiece to lead Washington, while Elena Delle Donne added 13 to begin what she hopes is her healthiest season in four years. Back injuries have limited Delle Donne to just 31 games since her MVP campaign during the Mystics' 2019 championship run.

The Sun used a balanced scoring output from their core of DeWanna Bonner (19 points), Alyssa Thomas (18) and Brionna Jones (13) to hold off top pick Aliyah Boston and the Indiana Fever 70-61 on Friday in Indianapolis.

Connecticut never trailed en route to building a 19-point lead in the third quarter before the Fever surged back in the game's closing minutes.

Boston's layup trimmed the Sun's lead to three with 2:25 remaining, but Thomas scored six straight points for her team down the stretch to lock up a win in head coach Stephanie White's Sun debut.

"We've got a great core group who understands what it takes to be successful," said White, who takes over a Connecticut squad that fell to Las Vegas in last season's WNBA Finals. "We'll continue to put one foot in front of the other and get better every day."

Boston finished with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

The Sun went 2-1 against the Mystics in last season's matchups, all of which were won by the home team.

--Field Level Media
Washington Mystics
Connecticut Sun

Washington Mystics vs. Connecticut Sun Recap MAY 21TH 2023

DeWanna Bonner scored 21 points to propel the host Connecticut Sun to an 80-74 victory over the Washington Mystics on Sunday in Uncasville, Conn.

Brionna Jones added 15 points and 10 rebounds and Alyssa Thomas chipped in 14 and 16, respectively, for the Sun in their 2023 home opener.

Shakira Austin and Elena Delle Donne each posted a double-double for Washington, which shot just 3-for-21 (14.3 percent) from 3-point range. Austin scored 21 points on 10 of 14 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Delle Donne supplied 19 points and 11 boards.

The Sun rallied from a 12-point first-quarter deficit and claimed their first lead of the game with 8:32 left in the fourth after Jones gobbled up a miss and scored to put her team ahead 59-58.

Jones' putback sparked a 10-2 surge to begin the final stanza as the Sun stretched their lead to 67-60 with six minutes to play.

Delle Donne's three-point play brought the Mystics to within 69-68 at the 3:10 mark, but Connecticut drilled 11 of 14 free throws down the stretch to seal it.

The Sun went 20-for-25 at the line in the second half after shooting just 5-for-11 from the stripe before intermission. Washington, meanwhile, made 7 of 11 free throws in the second half after going 10-for-11 in the first.

Both teams made eight shots throughout a high-scoring third quarter as the Mystics clung to a one-possession lead for most of the stanza. Austin racked up seven points to keep Washington ahead 58-57 entering the fourth quarter.

The Mystics finished 27-for-69 (39.1 percent) from the field compared to a 25-for-68 clip (36.8 percent) for Connecticut.

Washington raced out to a 14-3 lead as the Sun missed seven of their first eight field goals.

Tiffany Hayes scratched across five points to keep Connecticut within striking distance, but Amanda Zauhi B. banked in a straightaway 3-pointer just before the first-quarter buzzer to replenish the Mystics' 10-point lead at 24-14.

Bonner shook off her scoreless first quarter with a 10-point outburst in the second period to pull the Sun back into it.

She and Rebecca Allen each drilled a 3-pointer during a 16-5 Connecticut surge that Bonner capped with a layup to pull them within 31-30 with 4:24 left in the half.

The Sun dried up from the floor after that and left five points at the foul line to enter halftime trailing 38-34.

--Field Level Media