No place like home: Mystics announce Game 4 venue change, continuing odd trend in this year’s WNBA Playoffs

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 16: Elena Delle Donne
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 16: Elena Delle Donne /

What’s the point of playing at home if the team can’t play on the surface it has called home court for the entire regular season?

Sure, players on the home team get to sleep in their own beds. But it’s hard to imagine that playing in an unfamiliar arena doesn’t throw a wrench into things, even for seasoned, professional basketball players — on both teams.

The Washington Mystics issued a press release this afternoon announcing that Game 4 of the WNBA Semifinals against the Minnesota Lynx will be held at McDonough Arena on Tuesday Sept. 19 at 8:00 pm (if necessary).

The change is necessary because of a scheduling conflict at Capital One Arena. (And it is unlikely that DC-area tweens won’t fume from the nostrils at having the most recognizable, ginger-haired British pop star of the day referred to as a “scheduling conflict” rather than, say, heaven.)

With the Mystics needing to move the game to the Georgetown campus, the number of teams experiencing a scene change during the Semifinals climbs to three of the four remaining teams:

  • Los Angeles Sparks will host Game 2 against the Phoenix Mercury tonight in Long Beach, CA — roughly 45 minutes by bus from Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles — because of an 80s throwback concert featuring Hall and Oates and Tears for Fears. (Everyone loves a good 80s jam, but these bands have booted from the arena the top women’s basketball players in the world. What, Hollywood Bowl wasn’t available?)
  • Minnesota Lynx will host game Game 2 against the Washington Mystics tonight at Williams Arena. Target Center, the Lynx’s usual haunt, has been shuttered for renovation, which pushed the team to the Xcel Energy Center. But the start of the Minnesota Wild preseason, along with other scheduled events at Xcel Energy, forces the team to play out of Williams Arena for the duration of the playoffs.

As a Summitt Hoops reporter stated, this is not really a good look for the WNBA. And another reporter who will be covering the Sparks-Mercury tilt in Long Beach expressed concerns about the likelihood of an empty arena.

The WNBA has done a boss job of bringing the game to the masses via technological means, such as Twitter and FanDuel, but the live game experience remains a work in progress — even without the arena-hopping of late.

For those in the nation’s capital keen to avoid the Ed Sheeran concert at Capital One Arena in favor of cheering for the Mystics, McDonough Arena is located “on the southwest corner of the Georgetown University campus,” according to the release.

Additional details from the press release:

"To facilitate access to Georgetown University, Mystics fans will be able to board the free Georgetown University shuttle bus at stops in Dupont Circle (Red Line) and Rosslyn (Blue/Orange/Silver Lines). Georgetown shuttles will be available to drop fans back off at the same metro stops after the game. Shuttles run every 10 minutes from these locations.For directions to McDonough Arena on Georgetown’s campus, please visit can secure the best seats at the best price for all potential 2017 playoff games by signing up for a 2018 Club 52 membership.  Secure your playoff seats and 2018 membership now by calling 1-877-DC-HOOP1 or for more information.Single game tickets for a potential Game 4 at McDonough Arena can be purchased by clicking here.  Tickets start at $35 and are general admission only.* If game 4 is not played a full refund will be issued."