The slumping Washington Mystics will try to pick up some momentum on Tuesday when they visit the Phoenix Mercury for the first of two straight Western Conference road games.
Washington (13-14) comes into Phoenix having lost four of its last five games and 7 of 10 to fall below .500 on the season. The Mystics slipped to sixth in the WNBA standings following Sunday's 91-83 home loss to the Los Angeles Sparks.
Tianna Hawkins scored 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the floor, but it was not enough to overcome five different Sparks players reaching double-figure scoring. The Mystics will now travel to Phoenix as a 4-9 road team and, because of Sunday's loss, are also 2-2 in games against the bottom third of opponents in the league standings.
Tuesday's contest marks Washington's fifth such matchup over this stretch, and a rematch against a sputtering Mercury side.
Phoenix (7-20) is tied with Indiana and Seattle for the fewest wins in the WNBA after the Mercury fell to the visiting Storm 97-91 on Saturday. The defeat, which dropped Phoenix to 1-1 on its ongoing four-game homestand, marked the Mercury's fifth in their last six games.
Brittney Griner returned to the Phoenix lineup in Saturday's loss after a three-game absence for a mental-health break and scored 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the floor.
"I just want to shout out the Phoenix Mercury organization," Griner said in her postgame comments to a reporter. "From the jump, they were there for me, making sure I was good, letting me know that at any moment, if I needed some time off, I could do that."
Griner finished with 12 points, five rebounds and five assists in Phoenix's previous matchup with Washington, an 84-69 Mystics win on July 23.
In that game, Washington's Natasha Cloud totaled 23 points and nine assists, while Brittney Sykes added another 23 points in the win.
"We can't win and come in complacent the next day," Cloud said after Sunday's loss in reference to playing teams shortly after wins. "That's something we just have to fix within our locker room."
—Field Level Media