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Las Vegas Aces @ Washington Mystics: Hosts return from long WNBA lay-off but still missing Elena Della Donne

The WNBA action live on Sky Sports continues this weekend as the Mystics host the Aces, watch on Sky Sports Arena this Saturday from 6pm

Tina Charles in action for the Washington Mystics
Image: Tina Charles in action for the Washington Mystics

The Washington Mystics haven't played a game in eight days as they prepare to host the Las Vegas Aces on Saturday evening.

The Mystics endured a five-point loss to the Connecticut Sun last time out on May 28. In that game, Tina Charles scored a team-high 29 points, Ariel Atkins added 20 points, and Myisha Hines-Allen had a double-double.

Seven-time WNBA All-Star and former MVP Tina Charles continues to lead the Mystics in scoring, averaging 26.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and shooting 46.8 per cent from the field through the first six games of the season.

Live WNBA Game 3: Las Vegas @ Washington 05.06 1800

For the Aces, Kelsey Plum, who missed six games due the 3x3 Olympic qualifiers, returned to the line-up in Thursday night's 94-82 win against the New York Liberty. A'ja Wilson had an incredible performance, scoring 30 points and pulling down 13 rebounds.

Wilson, the Aces' leading scorer, has averaged 18.1 points per game throughout the season.

When asked about how the Mystics would aim to keep her quiet, Charles said: "Communication-wise [the team] is getting better on the defensive end."

With Elena Delle Donne still out for the Mystics, head coach Mike Thibault has relied on other players to shine on the court. Natasha Cloud leads the team in assists, averaging 4.2 per game and Ariel Atkins has averaged a career-high 16 points per game shooting 42.3 per cent from the field.

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Sydney Wiese made her first four three-pointers before exiting midway through the third quarter of the Mystics' clash with the Sun last week after rolling her right ankle. It was the same ankle she rolled last season with the Sparks, according to Thibault. On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Wiese is unlikely to return this week.

Regarding the Aces' healthy roster of big players, Thibault referenced the 2019 semi-final round of the WNBA playoffs (where the Mystics took the series 3-1 before advancing to the WNBA Finals and taking the title), as an example of how his team will approach the game tactically.

WNBA: Saturday's fixtures

Las Vegas Aces vs Washington Mystics
Chicago Sky vs Los Angeles Sparks
New York Liberty vs Connecticut Sun

He said: "We gained our advantage by spreading them out, getting them out of their comfort zone in front of the basket."

The Entertainment & Sports Arena is ready to welcome nearly 2,100 Mystics fans back for Saturday's game, the most in arena since the 2019 WNBA playoffs.

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