May 17, 2016

Both the Dallas Wings and Washington Mystics are attempting to navigate challenging opening stretches while awaiting the returns of key players.

The teams also enter Wednesday night's matchup seeking to bounce back from tough losses to the same opponent.

Dallas (1-1) got its new era off to a soaring start with Saturday's 90-79 win at defending Eastern Conference champion Indiana, a result made more impressive by the absences of Skylar Diggins and Glory Johnson. The Wings couldn't maintain the momentum in Sunday's visit to Madison Square Garden, falling behind by 16 points early and trailing throughout a 79-71 loss to the New York Liberty.

The Wings have one test remaining against another 2015 playoff participant before the relocated Tulsa Shock play their first game in their new home Saturday against San Antonio. They're also hoping for an imminent return from Diggins with the All-Star point guard in the latter stages of her comeback from July's ACL tear.

"Still working it out. I have to go by how she feels," coach Fred Williams said. "It's day-by-day with her. Being on the road, I want her to be at least 99 percent. Never going to rush an injury for a player to get back."

Dallas is also without Johnson, who is serving a seven-game suspension for a domestic violence incident involving Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner in April 2015. The two-time All-Star missed all of last season while pregnant with twins.

Washington is dealing with its own injury issues with Ivory Latta recovering from a knee procedure performed last month. The veteran guard averaged a team-high 13.4 points per game last season.

Latta's experience was missed down the stretch of Saturday's 87-76 home loss to the Liberty. After tying the game at 73 on Bria Hartley's three-point play with 2:39 left, the youthful Mystics missed their final five shots while outscored 14-3 thereafter.

"I thought that for playing seven to eight players, we were tired," coach Mike Thibault said. "Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We are going to have to figure out a way to do a better job. We did a decent job on the defensive end but we didn't on the offensive end."

Hartley finished with 17 points and Tayler Hill had 20, but New York neutralized the frontcourt tandem of Emma Meesseman and Stefanie Dolson. The duo were held to a combined 15 points on 5-of-18 shooting as the Liberty recorded a 42-22 advantage in the paint.

Courtney Paris could give Washington further trouble after compiling 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting and 12 rebounds Sunday.

The Mystics have won five of six in the series but were dealt an 86-82 loss by Tulsa at Verizon Center last season.

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