Recaps and Other Related Links
- Interview with Matee Ajavon at WashingtonMystics.com
- Post Game Quotes With Mystics Players
- Presser With Coach Lacey
- Roman Augustoviz of the Star Tribune has a blog entry with his take on the win.
- The Star Tribune's article that Taj McWilliams-Franklin will be an assistant at Rice this season (sorry it's 2 days old now.........)
The Lynx (yes the plural form can be Lynx as well as lynxes according to Merriam Webster) have pounced on their prey so far this season in impressive fashion. This time, it was a fight for them to beat the Mystics last night (if you're in the East, but it's still earlier tonight out west). The Lynx players were definitely tested by a lesser team in the second half and even fell behind in the fourth for a bit. But they ultimately prevailed on a last second Captain Whalen putback with a second left.
I will write things from the losing team's perspective, so here's the question: Should the Mystics fans be happy that they played competitively against the best team in the league? Or should they be angry that they lost a winnable game (that they were winning in the last minutes of the game) in the last second?
The Mystics did play well, especially in the 2nd half, and this is what helped them get back into a game that was all lost in the 1st half.
1. LESS TURNOVERS!
The Mystics only turned the ball over 11 times (both forced and unforced) while the Lynx gave up 18 TO's. The Mystics also had a positive Assist to Turnover Ratio, Minny was 1 to 1
2. More players stepped up offensively
The Big Three (Crystal, Mo, Matee) all scored in double figures which we all anticipated. Noelle Quinn made three of four threes and scored 13 points and also dished three assists.
Kind of self explanatory here. Despite being down by over 20 points, the Mystics came back and even led in the final two minutes.
1. Mystics gave up four straight offensive rebounds in the last two minutes of the game from about two minutes to 42 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
I get that the any team will give up an offensive board any one time, or maybe two in a row. But four in a row is unacceptable. The game was also tied at that point too which makes it even more unacceptable.
2. Mystics posts gave up another offensive rebound in the closing seconds to Lindsay Whalen, a guard who also scored the winner off that rebound.
Whalen's not even a tall guard either. The fact that the Mystics allowed this to happen is even worse than the brother team's equivalent of Nate Robinson out manning Andray Blatche for a loose ball! In that video, Robinson had more hustle than Blatche, and Whalen had more hustle in the last seconds. End of story.
This game made it seem that Minny dominated the boards, and statistically, they did, but many of those boards came in the crucial moments of the fourth quarter.
3. The Whole First Half
Again, I'd rather not talk too much about it. I personally feel that Lacey should have called timeouts before Minny could make 12-2 runs like what I saw to start the 2nd quarter. So in essence, the Mystics played competitively, but this game was a tale of two halves.
4. The Last Play
Despite everything I wrote above, the Mystics still had a chance to send this to OT or had a chance to pull off the win.
I believe Noelle Quinn was inbounding the ball. Monique Currie had a quick opportunity to grab the ball and throw something in the air. Instead Ashley Robinson gets the ball and gets it blocked like you can't believe? Even if Mo had her shot blocked badly by Whalen at least the right pass was made! What was that?!
I thought that this game would tell me what the Mystics were made of, for better or for worse. Somehow, I got a bit of both. The good is that this Mystics team is mentally tough. Other players besides the big three are stepping up, like Noelle and Michelle last night. And yes, Natalie got some playing time, albeit three minutes or so, and she was the defender on some made Lynx buckets, though I don't think she played horribly when she was on the court either.
The bad is that the Mystics could not close a game that they came back to lead at some point, and really, the momentum was totally on their side as well as the fashion that they lost this game in, which is specifically in a situation that they wanted to avoid this season. In addition, Coach Lacey added veteran players to be able to grab those crucial boards and make those critical shots in crunch time. At least for this game, they failed to do that again, and there's no sugarcoating it.
Perhaps I am way too hard on the Mystics for this. But at the same time, a veteran team needs to be able to do this consistently, and they didn't do it. If the Mystics grabbed one of those rebounds when 1 to 2 minutes were left and earned a foul shot opportunity, we may very well be talking about the Mystics shocking the Lynx instead of this.
While I am happy that the Mystics played a great game considering that they came back to be able to win this game, I am still left with more questions than answers as to whether or not the Mystics are headed in the right direction at the present time.