May 10, 2022 - Sports

A casual fan's guide to the 2022 Mystics

Mystics players huddle during a break.
Copyright 2022 NBAE. Photo: David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Mystics tonight play the third game of their 25th season, and this team is worth paying attention to. Here’s a quick rundown for casual fans:

The big picture: The pandemic seasons haven’t been great for the Mystics, who won the WNBA championship in 2019. But with star forward Elena Delle Donne returning after a back injury, things are looking up.

On the court: The Mystics are 2-0 this season and have already seen big games from Ariel Atkins, Natasha Cloud, and Delle Donne.

  • This team is strong on both ends of the court with several shooters and defensive stalwart Atkins (the first player in WNBA history to earn all-defense designations in each of their first four seasons).
  • Rookie and third overall pick Shakira Austin scored a double-double Sunday night while Delle Donne was out, proving that she could be the rare WNBA player to shine in their first year.

What to watch: The band isn’t all back together yet and will have to adjust to a changing roster for at least the first few weeks of the season. 

  • Elizabeth Williams is still overseas finishing her season in Turkey; Delle Donne is still on load management for her injury and isn’t traveling to away games yet, and Alysha Clark is still injured but expected to return soon.
  • Note: The 2019 championship was Delle Donne’s last full season, and while other players are on the rise she’ll be integral to the team’s success.

Off the court: Mystics players continue to be some of Washington’s most outspoken athletes. Forward Tianna Hawkins and guard Natasha Cloud last week spoke out about abortion rights. Players have also advocated for Brittney Griner, who’s still in Russian custody.

The team’s platform for social justice initiatives this season — dubbed District of Change — will partner with Mayor Bowser’s 202Creates program on a t-shirt series that supports local artists. 

  • Expect to see players in their popular Rise jerseys honoring the 19th Amendment next month.

Special events: Throughout the season the team will host themed game day events, including Military Appreciation (May 22), Pride (June 12), and Back-to-School (August 7).

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