The Washington Post

Washington Mystics gear up for Connecticut Sun, looking to avoid sixth straight loss

Matee Ajavon is one of four shooters the Mystics are hoping to free up for more three-point attempts. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

On the laundry list of items on which the Washington Mystics need to improve if they hope to avoid what would be a season-high sixth straight loss Tuesday night against Connecticut, three-point shooting constitutes just one bullet point.

But if the Mystics (5-21) and their league-worst offense suddenly can find some consistency in their three-point shooting, knocking off the Eastern Conference-leading Sun (19-7) will be a little less daunting.

Washington possesses four capable three-point shooters, yet ranks second-to-last in the league in it (30.7 percent). The issue — or rather, one of the many issues — has been getting guards Noelle Quinn, Jasmine Thomas and Matee Ajavon, as well as forward Monique Currie, to find their long-range stroke more frequently.

It doesn’t help that the Mystics don’t have the luxury of fielding a firm starting lineup, which means that — with the exception of Currie and forward Crystal Langhorne — playing time and shots can vary greatly from game to game.

Take Quinn, for example. Quinn leads the team in three-point shooting (38.1 percent) and has shot 6 for 16 (37.5 percent) from beyond the arc during Washington’s current five-game losing streak. But outside of a 3 for 4 performance from three-point range during an 83-68 loss Aug. 28 at Atlanta, Quinn has made 3 of 12 three-point attempts (25 percent) in that span.

Quinn has started two of the past five games, though those starts weren’t in consecutive contests. In Washington’s most recent outing — a 79-73 loss Saturday at New York — Quinn started and played 34 minutes, making 1 of 2 three-point attempts. That came two days after Quinn logged 11 minutes off the bench in an 82-59 loss at Atlanta in which she missed her only three-point attempt.

The Mystics have dropped all four of their contests against Connecticut thus far this season, and whether a player like Quinn will start or how much she’ll play or how well she’ll shoot from three-point range is really anyone’s guess.

But assuming Langhorne and Currie are solid in the post as usual, a hot-shooting night from Quinn could be the spark that keeps Washington from accumulating another low in a season full of them.

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