Mystics squander first half lead in Angel Reese’s return to the D.C.-Maryland area, fall to 0-10

By Mekhi Abbott
AFRO Sports Intern

On June 6, Angel Reese registered a double-double and Chennedy Carter scored 25 points off the bench leading the Chicago Sky to a 79-71 victory over the Washington Mystics in Capital One Arena.

An estimated 10,000 fans enjoy Angel Reese’s first game as a professional basketball player in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area, including Reese’s mother, brother and Kim Mulkney. (AFRO Photo / Mekhi Abbott)

This was Reese’s first game in Capital One Arena since becoming a professional. Reese finished the matchup with 16 points, 11 rebounds and five steals. Six of her 11 rebounds were offensive boards.

It was a homecoming of sorts for Reese. The Mystics typically play at the Sports and Entertainment Arena but the game was moved to Capital One due to fan demand. 10,000 people were in attendance, including Reese’s brother and collegiate basketball player for the Maryland Terrapins, Julian Reese. Reese’s mother and Kim Mulkey, Reese’s coach at Louisiana State University (LSU), were also in attendance. 

“Being able to come back home and get a win, obviously I love the environment,” said Reese.

Going into halftime the Washington Mystics led 44-35. Mystics rookie Aaliyah Edwards started off hot with 16 points, shooting 7-7 from the field. She finished the game with 23 points and 14 rebounds.

On June 1, the Chicago Sky were narrowly defeated by the Indiana Fever, 71-70. In the matchup, Chennedy Carter was accessed a common, away from the ball after shoulder checking Caitlin Clark with 15.1 seconds left in the third quarter. Upon review, the foul was upgraded to a Flagrant 1 on June 2. A Flagrant foul is a foul in which contact against a player, with or without the ball, is deemed unnecessary.

The play resulted in a media whirlwind, with basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman and Indiana congressman Jim Banks chiming in. Lieberman said she “would’ve punched [Carter] in the face” and Banks went the lengths to pen a letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert, encouraging her to enforce a stricter punishment on Carter.

Scoring 25 points is an early season high for Carter. Since the Sky’s matchup against the Fever, Carter is leading the Sky in scoring with 20.5 points per game. She scored 19 in the matchup against the Fever.

“The moment she comes in [the game], she brings immediate energy. She’s electric…I don’t think enough people pay attention to her defense,” said coach Teresa Witherspoon. 

Reese, the former Maryland Terrapin and Baltimore native, was overwhelmed by the overall reception and turnout during the game. In December, LSU traveled to Baltimore to play Coppin State and Reese led her team in scoring with 26 points and five steals. Just six months later and two months removed from losing to Iowa in the Elite Eight, Reese is 10 games into her professional career. 

The WNBA season begins in May, giving a lot of the top prospects that are draft eligible not even a full month before they have to transition between playing in college to playing in the pros. 

“It’s been great, I am overwhelmed by all of the love. It’s surreal,” said Reese. “I am trying to take it all in but everything is moving so fast.”

The Mystics next game is against Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever, also in Capital One Arena due to demand. Angel Reese and the Chicago Sky will be returning to Washington on June 14. They face off a total of four times during the regular season.

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