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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