The Washington Mystics are playing some of the best basketball in the WNBA at the moment. Whether it is good enough to end their recent struggles against the Seattle Storm remains to be seen.
Looking to match a season high with their fifth straight win, the visiting Mystics will also try to end a four-game overall slide to the Storm on Friday night.
Washington (13-6) is certainly playing like a team aiming to get back to the WNBA Finals for a second straight season. Led by star Elena Delle Donne (18.1 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game), the Mystics lead the "W" in scoring at 84.5 points per game and they're averaging 91.5 during a four-game winning streak.
Delle Donne has averaged 25 points over the last four after scoring 33 in Tuesday's 99-93 home win over Phoenix. Kristi Toliver (13.7 ppg) had 25 for Washington, which led by as many as 23 points but nearly blew the advantage as the Mercury got within two late in the game.
"We all know that this is a championship team, but nothing is going to be given to us, we have to go out and take it," guard Natasha Cloud said as posted on the Mystics' official Facebook page.
Washington won five in a row from June 18-29. That streak followed a 74-71 home loss to Seattle (12-9) on June 14. It was the teams' first meeting since the Storm swept the Mystics in three games of the 2018 WNBA Finals.
Delle Donne had 19 points in that contest, but Washington was outscored 22-8 in the fourth quarter. Seattle star Jewell Loyd (14.4 ppg) scored 14 and hit the go-ahead jumper with 8.6 seconds left.
While the Storm will try for a fourth consecutive home victory, they look to bounce back after their overall four-game winning streak ended with a 79-62 loss at Las Vegas on July 23 - their final contest before the All-Star break. Natasha Howard (18.1 ppg) and Alysha Clark each scored 13 and Loyd added 12, but Seattle was outscored 43-27 in the second half.
Despite that defeat, the Storm have more than managed to keep their collective head above water without injured stars Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird.
"Considering our circumstances and everything we've kind of dealt with, we're sitting really well," Loyd told heraldnet.com earlier this week.
These teams will conclude their regular-season series at Washington on Aug. 14.