On a night when Elena Delle Donne showed her class and Tianna Hawkins played well, Ariel Atkins could be the true story.
On any professional basketball team it is important to have stars now and talent developing into the future. When the Washington Mystics played the Las Vegas Aces, four out of five starters totalled 11 points.
The fifth starter was Elena Delle Donne who returned to form after the first game with a 23 point, 11 rebound double-double. However, even she shot poorly in the first half. Tianna Hawkins was able to come on and right the ship scoring 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting. This included 3-of-7 from downtown.
Atkins played 22 minutes and scored 15 points. Not only that, she had four rebounds, two steals and one assist. In just her second game, Atkins looked assured on the floor and shot well. She went 6-of-10 from the field and 3-of-6 from deep.
The negatives of her game were that she collected four fouls and had three turnovers but that is expected of a rookie. The scary thing is what this could mean for the rest of the league.
When Tayler Hill returns, she will start in place of Tierra Ruffin-Pratt. Moving Ruffin-Pratt to the bench give the Mystics one of the stronger benched. Natasha Cloud, Hawkins and Atkins will take the majority of the minutes. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Myisha Hines-Allen can come on in short, high energy spurts to take the game away from the opposition.
While the Mystics are going to miss Emma Meesseman, this could be the silver lining of the cloud which puts them back into contention.