After encouraging starts to their seasons, the Chicago Sky and Washington Mystics are attempting to fight through trying times and get back in the win column.
Chicago’s challenge may be more difficult if Elena Delle Donne has to sit again.
With the league’s No. 2 scorer still day to day, each club will look to end a three-game losing streak Friday night in the nation’s capital.
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The Sky (5-4) have dropped four of five since a 4-0 start after falling 80-76 to Seattle on Tuesday. It was announced shortly before tipoff that Delle Donne, last year’s rookie of the year who is averaging 22.3 points this season, wouldn’t be available due a flareup of Lyme Disease. It’s unclear if Delle Donne, who battled the ailment in college, will be able to play in this contest.
"(I’m) exhausted, kind of like how you feel when you have a fever. Really achy, tired," she said.
Jessica Breland also is questionable after sitting out against the Storm with a lower leg injury. Markeisha Gatling scored a career-high 15 points and added 10 rebounds, while Epiphanny Prince came off the bench again in her second game after returning from personal time off to score a game-high 18 points.
"I want to just come out and help win in any way I can," Prince said. "We just have to be more focused with the game plan and come out with a sense of urgency so that we can throw the first punch and not have to play catch-up."
The Mystics (4-5) are likely in a similar frame of mind after falling behind early in each of their last two contests, losing 81-64 to New York on Sunday before Tuesday’s 81-66 defeat against Phoenix.
Washington fought back to tie its previous contest at halftime, but coach Mike Thibault called a timeout and substituted for all five players on the floor after the Mercury started the third quarter on a 10-0 run.
Emma Meesseman was the only Mystic in double figures with a career-high 14 points.
"Message delivered," Thibault said. "We’ll see if it’s received the right way."
The Mystics haven’t done much on the positive side lately, especially at home. They’ve lost four of their six games at Verizon Center and are 2-1 on the road. Ivory Latta has totaled 13 points in her last two games after averaging 14.1 over her first seven.
"Fortunately we’ve been lucky to get some wins on the road," said Monique Currie, who scored nine points Tuesday. "But we’ve got to take care of home and we’ve got to figure out how to win in front of our fans."
Chicago, which has split its two road games, won four of five overall meetings with Washington last season. Delle Donne sat out one with a concussion, but she averaged 19.0 points in the others.