The Washington Mystics had a successful regular-season debut at the Entertainment and Sports Arena Saturday, defeating the Atlanta Dream in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
After playing at Capital One Arena–also the home of the NBA’s Wizards and NHL’s Capitals–since their inaugural 1998 WNBA season, the Mystics now call the Entertainment and Sports Arena their home. Located in Washington’s Congress Heights, the Entertainment and Sports Arena opened last fall as a venue for basketball and other events, and had its first turn at WNBA action on Saturday.
For the Mystics, there has been hope that the new 4,200-seat arena will help foster a more energetic gameday atmosphere than what they had typically experienced at Capital One Arena, and that proved to be the case on Saturday. An enthusiastic crowd came away with a big win from the Mystics, who debuted at their new home with a 96-75 victory over the Dream. More from the Washington Post:
“Good way to christen a new building,” Coach and General Manager Mike Thibault said.
The game was officially deemed a sellout; there were empty seats speckled throughout the venue, but the arena appeared about 90 percent full.
More importantly, the crowd was loud and amped — an energy magnified by the coziness of the venue and spurred by an excellent shooting night from the Mystics, an 18-point performance from Elena Delle Donne and a game-high 21 points from guard Ariel Atkins. Fans are seated so close to the court that when Atlanta’s Renee Montgomery checked in during the second quarter, she crinkled her nose and remarked that it smelled like food in front of the scorer’s table. Wizards guard Bradley Beal was two seats away eating chicken tenders….
“It’s great when you can put on a show like that, especially the first show,” Delle Donne said. “It’s huge to make a good impression.”
In addition to the Mystics, the Entertainment and Sports Arena is home to the NBA Gatorade League’s Capital City Go-Go.