Mystics open 2018 season with perfect 4-0 start

Recap and analysis of the Washington Mystics' perfect season-opening week.

The Washington Mystics opened up their 2018 campaign with a perfect week, going 4-0. Washington would get victories over the Indiana Fever twice, Las Vegas Aces, and Minnesota Lynx.

Here is a recap of the Mystics' games as well as analysis:

Game #1: Mystics 82, Indiana 75

The Mystics opened their season last Sunday with an 82-75 victory over the Indiana Fever (0-2) at Capital One Arena.

The win was a solid start for Washington, who looks to improve on their 18-16 finish from a year ago when they fell to the Minnesota Lynx in the semifinals. One noticeable absence on Sunday was Emma Meesseman, who is skipping the entire season due to national team commitments.

Despite Meesseman not being present, the Mystics still had four players in double figures on Sunday, led by Kristi Toliver's 16 points. Elena Delle Donne chipped in 13 points on 60 percent shooting as Washington used a 21-17 opening quarter to set the tone.

Meanwhile, for the Fever, they suffered their second loss of the season after falling to Chicago 82-64 at home. Indiana was led by Natalie Achonwa's double-double of  21 points and 12 rebounds. Kelsey Mitchell added 16 but the undoing for the visiting Fever would be their poor shooting from three-point range, just 33 percent for the game.

Tiffany Mitchell and Jazmon Gwathmey combined for just two points on 1-for-11 shooting from the field, not a winning recipe for an Indiana team hoping to rebuild and improve from last season.

Game #2: Mystics 75, Las Vegas 70

Washington would follow up their win over Indiana with a close contest against the WNBA's newest team, the Las Vegas Aces. The Mystics used a 31-26 fourth quarter to pull away and grab the win over Las Vegas (0-2), who played without guards Kayla McBride and Kelsey Plum, who both had overseas commitments. 

Elena Delle Donne poured in 23 points as she shot 44 percent from the field. She would add 11 rebounds to that, posting her first double-double of the season. Tianna Hawkins came off the bench to score 17 points and Ariel Atkins chipped in 15.

The Aces were also without Moriah Jefferson as she continues to rehab from a knee injury from last season with San Antonio. Las Vegas had three players in double figures, led by rookie A'ja Wilson's 16 points and eight rebounds. Second-year forward Nia Coffey added 14 points and Tamera Young had 13 for Las Vegas, who shot 38 percent for the game.

Game #3: Mystics 93, Indiana 84

The Mystics hit the road for the first time this season, traveling to Indianapolis to meet the Fever for the second time in a week. Washington would grab the 93-84 victory over Indiana (0-5) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to improve to 3-0.

Delle Donne posted her second double-double of the season, scoring 26 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Toliver and Hawkins combined for 26 points and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt added 10 for the Mystics, who put together their best performance of the season thus far. 

Indiana put up a much better performance than their season opener with three players in double figures.  Kelsey Mitchell led the Fever with 25 points on 56 percent shooting Candace Dupree added 21, while Tiffany Mitchell chipped in 13.

Game 4: Mystics 90, Minnesota 78

Washington's most impressive win came against the defending champion Minnesota Lynx on May 27. In a rematch of last season's Semifinals series, the Mystics proved they are for real by taking down one of the most dominant teams of the last few years.

The Mystics had four players in double figures, led by Toliver's 19 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor. Rookie Ariel Atkins and Natasha Cloud each had 14 points, while rookie Myisha Hines-Allen had 15. Both rookies combined for 29 of the Mystics' 90 points. 

Delle Donne struggled against Minnesota's defense, scoring just four points on 2-of-7 shooting.

Meanwhile, the Lynx (2-2) had just two of their top players in double figures. Maya Moore had 18 points and Sylvia Fowles posted 17 points and eight rebounds. Tanisha Wright came off the bench to score 10 points.

Upcoming Schedule

The Mystics are 4-0 on the season and will play three of their next four games away from DC. Here is a look at their schedule for next week:

5/29: At Seattle Storm (2-1) - KeyArena, 10 pm ET

5/30: At Phoenix Mercury (2-1) - Talking Stick Resort Arena, 10 pm ET

6/1: At Las Vegas Aces (0-2) - Mandalay Bay Events Center, 10:30 pm ET

6/3: Vs. Connecticut Sun (3-0) - Capital One Arena, 3 pm ET

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