Sparks vs Mystics Prediction
The Los Angeles Sparks will look to win their third straight game when they take on the Washington Mystics this Thursday night.
- HISTORY: Los Angeles and Washington have split the last four matchups, all being decided by eight points or more.
Sparks Staying Afloat
Los Angeles (4-3) dropped their first two games of the season, but they’ve gone on to win four of their last five. Their recent play has to be a sign of relief for head coach Derek Fisher, as team captain Nneka Ogwumike suffered a knee last week. Instead of trending downward, the Sparks have upped their play. The former WNBA MVP was averaging 16.4 ppg and 7.1 rpg, while shooting 58.6% from the field.
In Ogwumike’s absence, the Sparks have leaned a bit more on guards Erica Wheeler and Te’a Cooper. Wheeler is averaging 11.6 points per game, she’s leading the Sparks in assists (3.7), and she’s coming off of a season-high 22 points in LA’s third win over the Chicago Sky. Cooper has finally received the spike in playing time she needs and she’s delivered with her first three double-digit performances of the season.
Amanda Zahui B. and Nia Coffey start in the frontcourt, as the Sparks are also missing Chiney Ogwumike. Zahui B is averaging 11.1 ppg, and grabbing 6.5 rpg. Coffee is scoring 10.4 ppg, and adding 4.6 rpg. Former longtime Spark Kristi Toliver signed back after last winter, and she scored 22 points in the win over Indiana.
Washington Weathering Storm
After trading their last six games, Washington (3-5) looks to be adjusting to life without standout Elena Delle-Donne. After winning a championship and joining the 50-40-90 club in 2019, the former 2x MVP’s absence has hindered the Mystics offensively, as they rank tenth in the scoring.
Prior to the 2020 season, the Mystics made a splash acquiring veteran Tina Charles to join their championship roster. Although they haven’t been able to pair their two stars, Charles has come in and taken on the alpha role successfully. In her eleventh season, she’s scoring a career-high 25.9 points per game, while grabbing 8.4 rebounds. Myisha Hines-Allen joins her up front, and she’s taken off since the championship campaign. The fourth-year forward is averaging 15.4 ppg, and she scored 32 in the near-win over the Las Vegas Aces.
Ariel Atkins, Natasha Cloud, and Sydney Wiese start in the Mystics backcourt. Atkins is enjoying her best season yet, averaging a career-best 17.8 ppg, and she scored a career-high 29 points against the Aces. Cloud is fifth in the league in assists (5.5), while Wiese is fourth in three-point percentage (47.6).
Players to Watch
Prior to returning to Los Angeles, Toliver was a part of the Mystics championship-winning team in 2019. Being back in Washington may be emotional, but it could bring out a great performance. With Nneka Ogwumike still out for a couple more weeks, the Sparks will need Toliver’s best.
Tina Charles is going to keep Washington afloat and competitive this season. She’s playing at an MVP level right now, and after scoring 30 or more in five of her last six outings, look for her to leave her mark on this game. She will be the best player on the floor.
Sparks vs Mystics Prediction & Pick
Both teams are dealing with the injury bug, but they’ve both fought hard through the first few weeks of action. The Sparks won’t find Nneka Ogwumike’s production within the roster, but the Mystics have the luxury of Tina Charles. Her play will largely determine the outcome of this game, as Los Angeles may not have an answer for her on the road. Washington has the advantage in star power, rotational players, and they’re at home. Bet on the Mystics to win tonite, and take the over.