Getting Mystical: Previewing Washington’s WNBA Team

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(Photo : Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – June 11: Shakira Austin #0 and Natasha Cloud #9 of the Washington Mystics react during the first quarter against the Seattle Storm at The Space Needle on June 11, 2023 in Seattle, Washington

A New Era in D.C. is upon us. 

As we eagerly await the 2024 WNBA season, the Washington Mystics are gearing up for an exciting season that is full of changes. 

This Mystics will be without Natasha Cloud and Elena Delle Donne this season, showing a change of scenery for them. 

Both players have been staples in D.C. for years and without them the Mystics will be looking for answers in maintaining competitiveness this season. 

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Washington Mystics Offseason 

Natasha Cloud will be suiting up for the Phoenix Mercury next season and Elena Delle Donne will be taking a break from basketball.

Cloud has played eight seasons with the Mystics, helping them win a WNBA Championship in 2018  and leading the league in assists in 2022. Delle Donne has been the face of the Mystics franchise since signing with Washington in 2017.

The Washington Mystics took UConn star Aaliyah Edwards with the No.6 overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft. 

Edwards was a significant cog in UConn’s past NCAA Women’s basketball season. The team reached the Final Four, nearly making it to the National Championship game. 

Aaliyah Edwards is expected to take on the starting power forward role, playing next to Mystics center Shakira Austin in the front corner.

While at UConn, she demonstrated to be a versatile player on both sides of the floor. However, Edwards’ defense should shine the most, especially next to Shakira Austin. 

Both players are very talented and could be a defensive nightmare for any frontcourt throughout the league.

READ MORE: Seattle Storm the WNBA With Big Offseason Moves

Questions for Brittney Sykes and Shakira Austin 

Shakira Austin and Brittney Sykes are two players to highlight for the Mystics this season.

Austin, entering her third season in the WNBA, is returning from a torn labrum in her hip, an injury that derailed what could have been a spectacular sophomore year for her. 

She didn’t see much of a boost in her production, only averaging 10.0 points per game along with 7.0 rebounds, but still there is immense potential that can not be denied. When healthy, Shakira Austin is a legit pick-and-roll threat and a lethal post-up player when she gets touches. 

Elsewhere on the roster, Brittney Sykes is coming off the best season of her career, averaging 15.9 points and 3.8 assists per game. 

Sykes shot 35% on four attempts per game at the three-point line and has shown that she can be a major contributor to Washington for years to come. And Sykes has also shown that she can put pressure on the rim as a stellar defender.

Without Delle Donne and Cloud, Brittney Sykes and Shakira Austin will be expected to do more to keep the Mystics in games next season. 

READ MORE: Seasoned Connecticut Sun Will Fight for a WNBA Championship

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