Unbeaten Mystics head west to face Storm

With the Los Angeles Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx meeting in each of the past two WNBA FInals, teams from the Eastern Conference often get overlooked.

The Washington Mystics are trying to make sure that no longer happens.

The Mystics (4-0) are off to their best start in franchise history and look to continue their winning streak when they travel to take on the Seattle Storm (3-1) on Tuesday night at KeyArena.

The Mystics are coming off a 90-78 home victory over the defending champion Lynx despite forward Elena Della Donne, the league’s 2015 MVP, leaving early in the second quarter because of illness.

Point guard Kristi Toliver led Washington with 19 points, and the Mystics got 58 points from their bench, including 15 from Myisha Hines-Allen and 14 apiece from Natasha Cloud and Ariel Atkins.

“Unbelievable win considering the start, who we were playing and I cannot even say enough about our young players and our bench, just the contributions we had,” Mystics coach Mike Thibault said. “They played like veterans and that was as good as we played all year and probably as good as we have played in a long time just as a group for nine or 10 people. We will take it. It is a good way to get ready to go on a road trip this week.”

Hines-Allen, a rookie from Louisville, also had a game-high 13 rebounds going up against multiple-time All-Star Sylvia Fowles.

“She is the reigning MVP, so it was just like just focus on her. Do not worry about anything else,” Hines-Allen said. “In the beginning of the game, I was in awe, not even going to lie. I was like, ‘wow,’ they are really here. I am really about to play against them.

“It was kind of weird, but then once you get in the flow of the game, it is like they are human, you are playing a basketball game, you are playing the sport you love.”

The Storm have won three in a row after suffering a season-opening loss at home to the Phoenix Mercury.

Seattle spoiled the first home game for the relocated Las Vegas franchise on Sunday, defeating the Aces 105-98.

Breanna Stewart (23 points), Natasha Howard (21) and Jewell Loyd (20) led the way as the Storm shot a season-best 52.2 percent from the field, including 12 of 26 from 3-point range. Stewart and Loyd just missed double-doubles, with Stewart grabbing nine rebounds and Loyd adding nine assists.

Seattle, which has frequently fallen behind early in games this season, used a 15-0 run in the first quarter to pull away.

“We had a great flow early in the game, and we were able to get some separation from them in the first quarter, which hasn’t happened a lot,” Storm coach Dan Hughes said.

The Storm have a 20-15 edge in the all-time series against the Mystics, including 14-4 at KeyArena.