Storm Happy to be Home
Former Most Valuable Players Elena Delle Donne of the visiting Washington Mystics and Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm highlight a Thursday night matchup of WNBA title contenders.
This will be the first meeting between the teams. In the most recent meeting on Sept. 7, 2021, a back injury sidelined Delle Donne while Stewart left after playing just 18 minutes. Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd combined to hit seven 3-pointers in a 105-71 Seattle victory.
This is Seattle’s first home game since June 7. The Storm went 4-1 while playing five road games in 10 days. The Mystics have alternated wins and losses since beating Dallas on May 17 and Atlanta on May 19.
Seattle has won three of the last four games against Washington, although the Mystics are 6-1 against the WNBA betting lines in their last seven matchups with Seattle.
Seattle (+600) has the fourth-best odds to win the WNBA championship according to the sportsbook. Washington comes in at +1200.
Atkins on Roll for Mystics
With Delle Donne sitting out eight games while Natasha Cloud, Alysha Clark and Elizabeth Williams missing a combined total of 14 games, even more of the offensive burden has fallen to fifth-year guard Ariel Atkins.
Atkins, one of three Washington players to appear in all 19 games this season, has scored in double figures in each of the last seven games.
She has averaged 15.1 points in 10 home games and 15.4 points on the road. She is at an identical 15.3 points per game in wins and losses. That consistency has been crucial for a team in need of reliable performers. Since scoring 22 points in a 2021 win over the Storm, Atkins is averaging just 10.5 points in her last four contests against Seattle.
Washington has covered against the WNBA betting lines in just three of its last nine games. However, the Mystics are 6-3 against the spread in their last nine road contests.
Seattle Looks to Get Offense Going
The good news is that the Seattle Storm is 5-3 in the month of June and much of that can be credited to solid defense that held opponents held under 80 points in four of those wins. The offense is still a bit of a work in progress.
In eight games played in June, Seattle ranks last in the WNBA with an average of 76.9 points per game. The Storm is also last with 9.6 free throws made and 12.3 foul shots attempted. These are pretty confounding numbers with a team that features two of the best offensive players in the WNBA in Stewart and Loyd.
Stewart is averaging 22.6 points in eight games played in June. Stewart, the WNBA’s leading scorer, was announced as one of the captains for the upcoming All-Star Game.
— Seattle Storm (@seattlestorm) June 22, 2022
Loyd contributed 18.2 points in the first six games of the month but has only 17 points on 6-of-26 shooting in the last two outings.
Something of note for those who bet online: Seattle has covered in seven of its last 23 games.
Mystics vs Storm Game Information
- Game: Mystics 11-8 (5-4 on the road); Storm 10-6 (6-3 at home)
- Location: Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle
- Day/Time: Thursday, 10 p.m. ET
- Mystics vs Storm Live stream: NBA Game Pass
Mystics vs Storm Betting Lines
|Washington Mystics||+4½ -110||+165||154½ -110o||75 -115o
|Seattle Storm||-4½ -110||-190||154½ -110u||79½ -115o
Mystics vs Storm Prediction
Seattle typically has one of the best home-court environments in the WNBA. However, the atmosphere should be even more intense than normal considering that this will be the first home game since Sue Bird, the WNBA’s all-time leader in assists and games played, announced that this will be her final season.
Seattle hit 14 3-pointers the last time it played Washington. While hitting another 14 might be asking a little too much, Seattle is second in the WNBA with an average of 26.3 attempted 3-pointers per game. Washington started its three-game road trip with an 84-82 loss to Los Angeles as three technical fouls proved costly. Next up is a game at first-place Las Vegas, which only brings more of a sense of urgency for Washington to win this game. The teams are eighth and 10th in rebounding so that could prove to be a tipping point.
Four of the last six games between the teams went under the total. The total of 154½ is more than 15 points less than the average of the other three games being played on Thursday.
On a night when future Hall of Famer Bird will be saluted by her basketball home since she was picked first overall in the 2002 draft, it’s hard to envision the Storm losing this game, even if Washington is a worthy opponent. It doesn’t hurt that it was recently announced that Bird will make a record 13th appearance in the WNBA All-Star Game.