Six simulated Washington Mystics games to air on local networks

NBA 2K20 simulations of Mystics games will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington, Monumental Sports Network

Wednesdays are officially the best day of the week for Washington Mystics fans.

On Wednesday, April 29, Mystics star Elena Delle Donne debuted her weekly YouTube show, “BakEDD.” Less than a week later, the Mystics announced that they would air video-game simulations of Mystics games on Wednesday nights on NBC Sports Washington and Monumental Sports Network.

The simulations are created using the video game NBA 2K20 and artificial intelligence gameplay, and they will be televised for six weeks starting last night, May 6. Mystics play-by-play announcer Meghan McPeak will call the games alongside a rotating cast of analysts. For the first game, a rematch of the 2019 WNBA Finals against Connecticut, Delle Donne and Mystics forward Aerial Powers joined McPeak.

NBA 2K20 uses the 2019 WNBA rosters, so the simulated games allow Mystics fans to see departed players Kristi Toliver and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough “play” with the team again. Toliver and Walker-Kimbrough helped Washington to a 61-58 win on Wednesday night in what was a much lower-scoring game than any of the Mystics’ games against Connecticut in 2019. (The fewest points the teams combined to score last season was 153, nearly 25 more than in the simulation.)

The simulated games each last one hour—there are no pauses for timeouts—and begin at 6pm ET. The broadcast schedule is as follows:

May 6: Mystics vs. Connecticut Sun
May 13: Mystics vs. Las Vegas Aces
May 20: Mystics vs. LA Sparks
May 27: Mystics vs. Seattle Storm
June 3: Mystics vs. Chicago Sky
June 10: Mystics vs. Minnesota Lynx

Powers was a natural fit to join McPeak on the first broadcast, as she is an avid gamer who also participated in the NBA 2K League’s online tournament last month. Powers told Her Hoop Stats’ Calvin Wetzel that it is important to her to encourage young girls to get into e-sports, and she has been spending much of her free time gaming during the coronavirus pandemic. On May 5, Powers used the livestream of her gaming to raise funds for Stand Up to Cancer.

Next week’s matchup against the Las Vegas Aces will be a rematch of Washington’s 3-1 series win in the 2019 WNBA semifinals. That series infamously sparked a feud between the two teams when Aces center Liz Cambage suggested that the Mystics “get in the weight room” if they wanted to stop her from scoring. Mystics point guard Natasha Cloud responded by doing pushups on the court to celebrate the series win. Last month, the feud was reignited on Twitter and immortalized on a BreakingT shirt. Tune in on May 13 to see which team comes out on top in the next simulated chapter of this budding rivalry.

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