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Mystics send message in WNBA opener: ‘Y’all can keep sleeping’

(Kenny Giarla/NBAE via Getty Images)

Natasha Cloud knows some people haven’t yet woken up to what’s possible for the Washington Mystics this year.

“Y’all can keep sleeping (on us),” the five-foot-nine guard said after the Mystics defeated the New York Liberty, 80-64, to open the 2023 WNBA season.

“We’re confident in what we have in this locker room and you can continue to talk about the super hero teams. But we know who we are and we know what we bring every single night.”

While the New York Liberty and Las Vegas Aces made huge offseason moves, the Mystics’ path to the start of the WNBA season was more subtle. Elena Delle Donne, who has dealt with a back injury for three straight seasons, says she is as strong as she’s ever been. And she looked it on Friday night, recording 13 points, five assists, four rebounds, two steals against the Liberty. Cloud, Ariel Atkins, and Kristi Toliver also added double-digit points.

While Liberty fans might have been surprised by the result, Delle Donne wasn’t.

“It’s what we’ve been doing in training camp. And we don’t care about the outside noise,” the two-time WNBA MVP said. “We don’t care about the storylines. It’s not going to change how we show up every single day, take care of one another and get the work we need to get done each day.”

As for the New York “super hero” team?

“This was a huge lesson for us,” Liberty guard Courtney Vandersloot said.

“We can learn a lot from this,” echoed Liberty head coach Sandy Brondello. “The team with the most chemistry certainly won tonight. We were not very good, and they were very good.”