The Los Angeles Sparks, to be sure, are no scrubs. They’re sitting near the top of the WNBA standings, with a future Hall of Famer in Candace Parker, All-Star forwards in the Ogwumike sisters, and one of the league’s greatest perimeter threats in Chelsea Gray. Alas, none of it was enough to prevent the 95–66 ass-whooping they suffered Tuesday night at the hands of Elena Delle Donne and the Washington Mystics, a team that has made resoundingly clear this season there is no one above their wrath.
Per Elias Sports Bureau, this win is their record-setting eighth 25-point win in 29 games played this season. Another one of those eight also came against the Sparks—a 81–52 blowout back in June. The Mystics are equal-opportunity annihilators: They notched a 39-point win over the wretched Indiana Fever a few weeks ago and whomped the excellent Connecticut Sun 102–59 in late June.
Their dominance this season prompted ESPN’s Kevin Pelton to wonder whether the Mystics were one of the best teams in league history:
Washington isn’t just leading the league in point differential. The Mystics are lapping the field, outscoring opponents by 11.4 points per game. Nobody else in the WNBA has a differential of better than plus-4.0 per game (Las Vegas).
In terms of point differential, the Mystics are posting not only the league’s best season but one of the best in WNBA history. Their plus-11.4 differential is currently the third-best ever, and the highest since the final year of the Houston Comets’ four-peat nearly two decades ago.
Though they’ve vanquished with abandon in the regular season, their next step is to keep the momentum going through the season’s final games, which will determine which two teams take the top seeds (which come with double-byes) and which ones will be left vying in single-elimination rounds. What the Mystics would really like, too, is to avoid last year’s fate of a disappointing sweep in the WNBA Finals.
“We can’t take our foot off the gas no matter what,” guard Natasha Cloud told NBC Sports Washington after the Mystics set a new WNBA record for most made 3-pointers in a single game (18) earlier this month. “Once we clinched a playoff spot, we didn’t come into this game thinking ‘Alright, let’s relax.’ We came into this game, ‘OK, let’s continue to separate ourselves.’”
That’ll be the tricky part. There are still another four teams with realistic bids for the top seeds, including the Connecticut Sun just one game back in the standings. But as they wrap up a strong August, the Mystics have done better than anyone else to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack.
And if the serial routing doesn’t convince you this team is something special, perhaps this lovely tattoo of their coach will: