The matchup: The Mystics (2-7) finish their three-game road trip with a stop Sunday in Seattle (7 p.m. ET), a locale that has hardly been accommodating over the years, but where they now hope to salvage their left coast excursion. After being routed in Los Angeles, Washington blew a late lead at Phoenix on Wednesday for its second straight loss and sixth in seven games. Now the Mystics look to snap a six-game skidon the Storms home court, a place they have not emerged victorious from since2005. Their timing is not ideal, as the Storm (4-7) have found their way with three straight victories and alsoswept the 2011 season series. The home-and home scenario concludes Tuesday when the two sides meet at the Verizon Center.Last time out: Behind another sterling interior effort from center Michelle Snow and Monique Curries bench scoring, the Mystics led the shorthanded Mercury 74-69 with 2:26 remaining. It did not go so well from there, outscored 11-3 the rest of the way for an 80-77 loss. Phoenixs eight active players struggled from distance throughout, but drilled consecutive 3-pointers in the closing stretch and made their free throws, something the Mystics failed to accomplish.One, we left them Mercury open for two wide-open threes, and really down the stretch we missed our free throws, Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said after he squad shot 46.7 percent (7 of 15) from the foul line. If we hadnt missed our free throws, it wouldnt have been the game. I think that those two things really hurt us down the stretch...we just needed to close it out and we didnt.Still Snow-ing: Starting her fourth straight game, Snow led the Mystics with 21 points on 9 of 12 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds. The 10-year veteran, one of the several new players added this offseason, has scored 36 points in her last two games after scoring 32 over the first seven games. The 6-foot-5 glass-eating center has averaged 10 rebounds per game during the four-game starting stretch.Mo Currie required: A career 37-percent shooter from beyond the arc, Currie entered Phoenix having missed all nine of her 3-point attempts over her previous four games.Perhapstaking to her bench role,Currie got hot from deep and elsewhere in the Valley of the Sun, sinking 3 of 5 from long range and 8 of 16 overall. We just need to win, so whatever I can bring to the table, or what anyone can bring to the table, were willing to do it and trying to do it, Currie said of adjusting to not being in the starting lineup. Were just trying to get the best out of everyone. Storm clouds lifting: Without all-everything center Lauren Jackson the Aussie is preparing for the upcoming summer Olympics the Storm labored early in the season with losses in six of seven games. Now, Seattles remaining stars are directing a charge back up the standings, led by point guard Sue Bird (12.4 points, 5.3 assists). Former Mystics Katie Smith (7.5 points) and Victoria Dunlap are also part of the Storms roster. Smith scored 13 points and knocked down three 3-pointers in Friday's 92-76 win over San Antonio. Dunlap, part of the trade that brought Crystal Robinson to Washington, could missSunday's game while recovering from a concussion.
Bryce Harper's (probably) back.
With just over two weeks left in the regular season, the Nationals star is set to be activated off the disabled list, according to the Washington Post's Chelsea Janes:
The plan is for Bryce Harper to be active tomorrow in Philly, according to people familiar with the situation.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) September 24, 2017
If Harper wakes up tomorrow and is in pain, this could change. As he's said, it's day-by-day. But this is the current plan. https://t.co/ovj4sAow46— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) September 24, 2017
Harper hasn't played since August 12, when he slipped awkwardly on the first base bag while trying to beat out a grounder. He suffered a signifcant bone bruise, although the injury looked considerably worse than it ended up being.
Before getting hurt, Harper was hitting .326/.419/.614 on the year with a 1.034 OPS and 29 home runs.
The Capitals have made another significant round of cuts, reassigning 16 players to AHL Hershey and releasing another.
Among the players headed to the Bears are: forwards John Albert, Mathias Bau, Chris Bourque, Dustin Gazley, Hampus Gustafsson, Tim McGauley, Garrett Mitchell, Mason Mitchell and Wayne Simpson; defensemen Kristofers Bindulis, Connor Hobbs, Tommy Hughes, Lucas Johansen, Hubert Labrie; and goalies Adam Carlson and Vitek Vanecek.
The club also released forward Stephen Collins.
The highest profile cuts were Johansen, the team's first round pick in 2016, and Hobbs. The Caps have high hopes for the young blue liners, but it’s obvious both will benefit from some seasoning in the minor leagues as they make the leap from junior to the pro ranks.
Hershey’s training opens on Monday.
After taking Sunday off, the Caps will return to practice on Monday with a roster of 36 players—and three preseason games left to sort out the position battles.
Forwards Riley Barber, Travis Boyd, Alex Chiasson, Tyler Graovac, Liam O’Brien, Anthony Peluso, Zach Sill, Devante Smith-Pelly, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana and Nathan Walker are left battling for the three available jobs up front.
Meanwhile, defensemen Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos, Jyrki Jokipakka, Tyler Lewington, Aaron Ness, Jonas Siegenthaler and Colby Williams are competing for the two open spots on the backend.
Although some players, such as Chiasson and Walker, have already begun to separate themselves from the others, you can expect the competition to intensify over the next week. The Caps host the Devils on Wednesday, then play at the Hurricanes on Friday and at the Blues on Sunday.