Tina Charles was the only star available for the Washington Mystics on Friday night, and she had 26 points and 16 rebounds in a 82-74 victory over the Atlanta Dream that moved her team back into eighth place with the New York Liberty and eliminated Atlanta from the playoffs.
Elena Delle Donne (back) missed the game and is doubtful to return to Washington this season (11-18). Myisha Hines-Allen (non-COVID-related illness) and Ariel Atkins (personally) were also out.
Not good Mystics news from Mike Thibault: Elena Delle Donne (back) probably won’t play tomorrow and is not sure about the rest of the season. She does not exercise and nerve pain flared up as a byproduct of the back problem. This was a problem after the operation. #wnba
– Kareem Copeland (reekareemcopeland) 9 September 2021
Can Charles have just enough in the tank to lead Washington to the playoffs, despite all the absences this season? Friday was definitely a step in the right direction.
“I think the team needs a player like me every night, I don’t see my role being less because players are here,” said Charles. “Coach T (Mike Thibault) wanted me here for a reason, he said I have to be myself and that’s what I could do all season. I want them, I want us to get together and play more together and have more time on the field, but when the team is here, I still have the same mindset to attack and choose my places when I’m open. ”
During the game, Charles became the second rebounder in WNBA history, overtaking former Sacramento Monarchs and Minnesota Lynx star Rebekkah Brunson. Charles only walks current Minnesota star Sylvia Fowles, who Brunson’s record broken last year.
“It is very unfortunate that (Brunson) has been left out of the Top 25,” Charles said. ‘Rebekkah Brunson is one of the dominant players. … She just sets the tone for rebounding. So to go past Rebekkah Brunson, I think it’s more about her and how she set the tone. ”
Theresa Plaisance added 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists to the winning point, while Natasha Cloud was good for 13 points, six assists and four steals. Courtney Williams bagged 23 points and six boards with a defeat when the dream fell to 7-22.
Minnesota Lynx (19-10) over Indiana Fever (6-22), 89-72
The fever led one by one, but struggled again as a match progressed. Minnesota’s Aerial Powers scored her third game in a row exactly 20 points after averaging 9.4 in her first eight games. Sylvia Fowles added 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists, four steals and five blocks, while Kayla McBride (15 points) and Natalie Achonwa (10 points) also scored in double figures.
Jantel Lavender had a solid game for Indiana with 15 points and nine boards, while Tiffany Mitchell (three assists) ran the Fever with 16 points.