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WNBA: Kahleah Copper, Chicago Sky, Ariel Atkins, Washington Mystics

When Chicago Sky (10-9) hosts the Washington Mystics (7-10) on Saturday night at 20:00 ET in the final game for both teams before the Olympic break, two of the most influential players in the WNBA will be in court.

No, we are not talking about Tina Charles, the Mystics’s MVP, or Courtney Vandersloot, the conductor for the air. We’re not talking about Candace Parker either.

According to Positive residuesAriel Atkins, a first-time Olympic player, and Kahleah Copper of the Sky, a first All-Star, of the Mystics, third and seventh, respectively, in wins over the substitution (WAR), a measure of their all-round value for victories.

So, if Washington or Chicago concludes the first half of the WNBA season of victory, it will likely be because their rising star is significantly influencing the action.

In the Mystics’ seven wins, Atkins offered elite offensive production, with 20.1 points per game on 52.3 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from three points. In Washington’s ten losses, Atkins’ shooting percentage drops to 36.2 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three, with her average score of 14.8 points per game. When Atkins ‘offensive game flows, Washington has a reliable second scorer to support Tina Charles’ 25.8 points per game.

In the first game between the Mystics and Sky, which is the first game of the season for each team and a comfortable Chicago win, Atkins struggled to five points, reaching her season-low output. Washington will definitely need more of her on Saturday night to snap up their losing streak with four games and finish the first half of the season with a win.

Compared to Atkins, Copper’s production does not revolve so much around gains versus losses. She averaged 15.4 points per game and lost 12.3. How she gets her points, however, is an indication of Chicago’s success. In Sky wins, Copper averaged 5.1 quick points and 9.0 points in the paint. In losses, only an average of 1.8 of her points come through quick breaks, while her points in the paint drop to 5.6. In short, if Copper uses her speed and athletics to put pressure on the opponent, at halftime at halftime or at halftime, Chicago is doing well.

This is what happened in the opening day match between the Sky and Mystics. Copper led Chicago by 19 points, with nine coming on quick breaks and 10 in the paint. She also put seven free throws on the line, another sign of how her offensive aggressiveness is a product and that it helps drive Chicago’s offensive attack. If the Sky achieves the home win and avoids a slide before the break of two games, Copper will probably earn a lot of credit.

Game information

Chicago Sky (10-9) vs Washington Mystics (7-10)

When: Saturday 10 July at 20:00 ET

Where: Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL

How to watch: Amazon Prime of CW 26

Key to the match: By the June 30 deadline for contract warranties, the injury-plagued Mystics had redone their bank and separated from Stella Johnson and Kiara Leslie. Washington then welcomed Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, who has played one game for the Connecticut Sun this season. Walker-Kimbrough, a member of the Mystics’ title team in 2019, brought her signature from outside the bench in her first game with DC and scored eight points in 14 minutes. She also added a stem and a block. As Chicago gets steady bank production through Allie Quigley, Walker-Kimbrough’s ability to get buckets could help Washington keep pace. On the other side of the floor, she has the athleticism needed to hold on to Quigley’s movement off the ball, as well as problems with ball handlers Lexie Brown and Dana Evans.

Air Injury Report: no

Mystics injury report: Natasha Cloud (probably; ankle), Elena Delle Donne (outside; back), Myisha Hines-Allen (out; knee), Erica McCall (indefinite; knee)

Highlight: Shatori Walker-Kimbrough announces her return to the Mystics with the deep ball

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