Mystics begin home-and-home set with Sky

WASHINGTON — The Washington Mystics and Chicago Sky will have quality time with each other this week as they begin a home-and-home series Tuesday night at Capital One Arena.

The Sky (3-7) bring a four-game losing streak to DC, the latest loss coming on Sunday night when they fell to the Los Angeles Sparks 81-72.

Chicago led by nine early in the second quarter, but the Sparks rallied with 21 straight points and led 39-33 at halftime. Los Angeles opened the second half with a 16-2 run to put the game out of reach

Jamierra Faulkner had 19 points off the bench for the Sky on 7-of-9 shooting and Diamond DeShields added 12. In her first ten games in the WNBA, the rookie and No. 3 draft pick has scored in double figures six times.??

It’s the first meeting of the year between the teams.

Washington’s Elena Delle Donne played for and the Sky from 2013-16.

After missing four games due to illness, Delle Donne has quickly regained her form.

On Monday, she was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for 13th time in her six seasons. She averaged a WNBA-high 27.0 points per game last week as Washington went 1-1 and was sixth among Eastern Conference players in rebounding (6.5 per game) and fourth in field goal percentage (55.6, 20-of-36).

The Mystics are also coming off a loss to the Sparks, 97-86 last Friday at home.

After trailing 52-34 at the half, the Mystics eventually tied the score 76-76 before the Sparks pulled away in the fourth quarter.

Delle Donne led five players in double figures with 18 points, and center LaToya Sanders posted her first double-double of the season with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

“We were a step behind defensively the whole first half and that carried over to our offense as we were taking it out on the net too many times,” Mystics coach Mike Thibault said. “They kind of had their way with us. Our defense has got to get back on solid ground before we start this next stretch of games. It wasn’t good tonight.”

The Mystics have lost four of their last five games, but they’ll play five of their next six games in Washington starting with the struggling Sky, who Thibault is not looking past

“They push the ball hard. They have great athletes on the wing,” he told the Washington Times. “Their backcourt of (Courtney) Vandersloot and (Allie) Quigley are a really great shooting backcourt.”

Quigley is averaging 15.5 points per game and Vandersloot is shooting 46.7 percent from 3-point range.