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Prior to the Washington Mystics' loss in the Eastern Conference semifinals, 2013 WNBA Coach of the Year Mike Thibault offered some reflections on his first season coaching in D.C.
The Dream went on a 27-17 fourth quarter run over the Mystics which helped them earn the victory. The Dream will now host the Indiana Fever in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
I am mad. Really mad. But at least Tayler Hill showed up to play which makes me feel a bit better, especially for the future.
Today, the WNBA has announced that Washington Mystics General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault has won the 2013 Coach of the Year Award. This is Thibault's third time winning it, which ties him with Van Chancellor for the most times a head coach has won the honor. Thibault is also the second head coach to win Coach of the Year with two different teams, joining Dan Hughes who did so with the Cleveland Rockers in 2001 and the San Antonio Silver Stars in 2007.
Please tell me it's true!!!!
Ivory Latta scored 14 points and dished 7 assists, and Crystal Langhorne added 12 points and 15 rebounds to help the Washington Mystics beat the Atlanta Dream, 71-56 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
I often hear from folks asking us to show our commitment to women's basketball. I am hopeful that people in our community see that we care deeply about the team and the league. Now I am hopeful that the fans will return the respect for the game by coming to our playoff game to support the Mystics. The more fans in the building the better the environment and the better the team seems to play. Thank you for caring.Washington Mystics owner Ted Leonsis on his blog today. We here definitely believe that Ted has been very involved with the team and look forward to seeing it continue both in good times and bad.
Just the Facts, Ma'am: Tayler Hill had 16 points off the bench to lead the Washington Mystics to a 70-52 win over the New York Liberty in their regular season finale. Kia Vaughn added 10 points and 12 rebounds for Washington. Kelsey Bone led New York with 11 points; Toni Young had 10.
For farewells, beginnings, causing trouble, courting trouble, photobombing, free stuff, and well wishes, join your intrepid and conclusive blogger after the jump.
Tayler Hill strikes again and leads the way with 16 points as the Mystics get to a 17-17 record for the 2013 season and earn the third seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Just the Facts, Ma'am: Ivory Latta had 19 points, including five threes out of a team-record 12, as the Washington Mystics romped over the Connecticut Sun 82-56. Kia Vaughn added 14 points and 10 rebounds for Washington. Mistie Bass led Connecticut with 13 points.
For injury added to injury, train rides, nosy questions, dressing in weird costumes, misplaced pride, and misplaced fans, join your intrepid and stuck blogger after the jump... and then get her out of this chair, she's stuck.
The Sun (9-24) only had seven players dressed for the game and were defeated soundly by the Mystics (16-17). Ivory Latta led the way with 19 points and five assists and had five three pointers. Tayler Hill tied her career high with 16 points and made four three point shots, continuing her recent stretch of improved play. In addition to Monique Currie who had 13 points and three made three point shots, the Mystics had an all-time franchise high of 12 made three point shots in the game.
Here is Coach Thibault's post game presser courtesy of Monumental Network:
Coach Thibault still believes that the team is in a "learning project phase" despite the win. And he also believes that Hill's "maturation" is coming around. Either way in the press conference, he believes that DC must be a balanced team in the Playoffs, and I too agree with that assessment, assuming the Mystics do manage to pull off a first round victory.
The Mystics' last regular season game is against the New York Liberty this Sunday, September 15, at 4:00 PM ET at Verizon Center.
With the Washington Mystics (15-17) defeating the Indiana Fever (15-17) 69-67 in a closely contested match all game, DC clinched the last open playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, which is their seventh in franchise history, and first since 2010.
Here's the last Q&A Zack and I go over for the 2013 regular season, before the playoffs. We did the bulk of this last week and at the time, we didn't really anticipate that the Mystics could be the 2nd place team in the East to close the regular season though it is mostly Atlanta's doing. Still, it hasn't changed much of what we would say.
From Monumental Network. In addition to interviews with Johnson, there were interviews with her son Brett, Wizards guard John Wall and former Mystics player/current basketball operations assistant Jessica Moore. Another piece of trivia that we haven't said earlier. Johnson, and Earl Stafford, one of Monumental's minority owners also were investors in "Lee Daniels' The Butler," a historical drama movie about a White House butler who observes many Civil Rights moments in American history. The movie has been a top box office hit nationally. If you can't see the video because you are reading this on a mobile device, click here.
Without Tiffany Hayes (knee) and Armintie Herrington (concussion) the Dream found themselves short handed against visiting Washington. They led for most of the game, but a late push by the Mystics handed Atlanta an 85-80 overtime loss.
The Washington Mystics are likely making the 2013 playoffs, and some players from the 2012 team, if not before, are leading the way. So, that raises the question as to how much credit that former General Manager and Head Coach Trudi Lacey deserves for this year's team.
The Mystics have had a lot of shortcomings, but a good season overall and they still could make some noise if they get into the playoffs.
The Mystics refused to be swept by the Atlanta Dream in 2013.
Here's an article in the Leesburg Today, a community paper based in Leesburg, Virginia, located about 40 miles away from Washington, DC, regarding Monumental Sports vice chairman Sheila Johnson who is also the Team President and Managing Partner of the Mystics.
Over the past decade, Johnson bought and developed a tract of land in Middleburg, Virginia, which is located in southern Loudoun County, one of the Washington area's outer suburbs and developed it into a resort property. Loudoun County is also where Washington Dulles International Airport is, including all of the major terminals and runways though part of the Airport boundary goes into neighboring Fairfax County. The resort is known as the Salamander Resort and Spa, and it will be a luxury resort, not just a random hotel. It includes equestrian activities, since Middleburg is part of Virginia's "Horse Country."
The resort was supposed to open in 2010, but it was delayed due to the economic times then. While she had the option of scaling back the resort's amenities then for an earlier opening, Johnson refused to do so, and now, it's about to open. Johnson is a major investor in the luxury resort industry, where she invested in the restoration of the Innisbrook Resort in Tampa Bay; the Woodlands Mansion near Charleston, SC; and the Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, FL.
Though it's not a basketball read, it is definitely a good one showing how Sheila Johnson became a major player in the hospitality industry.
Washington hosts the Dream at 7 p.m. on Friday before traveling to Atlanta next Wednesday.
There are many critical moments in a team's history that could set a franchise forward for years to come or set it back by just as much. Sometimes it happens totally by chance. Since the 2002 WNBA Draft, there has been a lottery system in order to allocate the top draft picks. For the Washington Mystics, they historically have been a perennially bad team, and yet they have never gotten the right draft combination to select some of the league's biggest names during the 2002, 2004, 2009, and 2013 Drafts when they had that chance. So, if I could hit the reset button, I'd like to go back to 2002 when this string of bad luck started, and just be really delusional in this extremely long and optimistic take for the Mystics and see what could have happened if the balls fell their way. What would have happened if the Washington Mystics, instead of the Seattle Storm got the first pick in the 2002 WNBA Draft to select Sue Bird, a guard out of Connecticut?
The Mystics got a boost from Kia Vaughn back in her old starting role, but it was not enough to overcome poor play in the middle of the game.
Washington hosts the Sky at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Swish Appeal caught up with St. John's alum and WNBA rookie Nadirah McKenith after the Washington Mystics defeated the New York Liberty on Friday night at the Prudential Center.
Chicago once again played catch up against an inferior opponent.
Atlanta guard Tiffany Hayes tied her career high with 23 points in just 24 minutes to lead the Dream to a 76-58 victory over the visiting Washington Mystics.
Washington takes on the Dream at 3 p.m. Sunday in Atlanta.
The New York Liberty will try to win their third straight game on the road when they face the Minnesota Lynx today. However, when they return from their three-game road trip they will still need to figure out how to win at home, where they have now lost six of their last eight games after Friday night's loss to the Washington Mystics.
Just the Facts, Ma'am: Washington withstood a 14-0 first half run by New York to pull out the road win 66-57. Matee Ajavon had 16 points and seven assists for the Mystics. New York was led by the 14 points of Katie Smith.
For pain, suffering, frustration, lost jerseys, a lack of responsibility, and other things I can't remember, join your intrepid and sore blogger after the jump.
McCoughtry continued her statistical dominance of the league, but, while she may be the best individual player, the Sparks are making their case as the best team instead of the Lynx.
For the Mystics (12-13), Matee Ajavon led the way with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. She needs to be in the conversation for Most Improved Player of the year considering her performance this year from last. Lang added 14 points, and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt added 12 points. For the Liberty (10-14), Katie Smith led all scorers with 14 points. The win now gives the Mystics more wins than in their last two years combined.
Washington travels to New York on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. matchup with the Liberty.
Crystal Langhorne starred as the Mystics failed to blow out the Sun, but still managed to pull out the victory and keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The Mystics shocked the league again and could finish the year as the only team to sweep the Lynx.
Looking at games decided by five points or less in the 2013 season, Washington stands out among the crowd.
The Washington Mystics (10-13) beat the Minnesota Lynx (17-4) on the road, 79-75. With the win, the Mystics ended the Lynx's 10 game winning streak and also swept the WNBA's top team in the Western Conference, and the prohibitive favorite for the championship this season. I'll even add this. The Mystics also handed the Lynx their first home loss for 2013. Just. Wow.
Washington travels to Minnesota for an 8 p.m. showdown on Thursday.
The Lynx kept rolling and the Fever reached .500 despite Elena Delle Donne's return.
The Washington Mystics (9-13) have gone on a four game losing streak since coming back from the All-Star break and are now in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. This raises some serious questions on how they want to approach the rest of the season and beyond in regards to their personnel.
Just the Facts, Ma'am: The New York Liberty fended off their habitual third quarter malaise to come back and beat the Washington Mystics 93-88. Alex Montgomery and Cappie Pondexter each had 21, with Plenette Pierson chipping in eight points, six rebounds, and 10 assists. Crystal Langhorne led all players with 24 points and 11 rebounds for Washington.
For the cursèd MTA, streaky shooting, momentarily divided loyalties, stripes, and calling it a comeback, join your intrepid and relieved blogger after the jump.
Washington fell to a Parker-less L.A. team that got double-doubles from Nneka Ogwumike, Lindsey Harding and Jantel Lavender.
Washington faces L.A. at 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Verizon Center.
The Lynx gained a game on the Sparks, who had to play without Candace Parker. Meanwhile the Sky were able to win without Elena Delle Donne thanks to another spectacular effort by Sylvia Fowles against the Mystics.
Washington takes on the Sky at 8:30 p.m. on Friday.
New York won the points in the paint battle 56-26 and gave Washington their third loss in four games to a team with a losing record.
Washington hosts New York at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
Latta was honored for a week that featured her first All-Star appearance.
The two All-Stars won the honor for games from July 22 to July 29. For Latta, this is her second player of the week honor this season and is Thompson's seventh such honor in her career. I know it's early and it's probably not happening, but IVORY LATTA FOR MVP!
Today, Ted Leonsis posted a quick entry on his blog, Ted's Take earlier today. The entry linked to a blog by Forte Fitness, an Orlando-based fitness boot camp company blog which mentioned his book, "The Business of Happiness."
The more telling quote is the very first sentence of the blog post:
I am making great progress on my list of late and on my personal fitness.
We've taken notice that Ted's lost a lot of weight since last winter when he hired Mike Thibault to be the GM and head coach of the Mystics, and he didn't look too different from the start of the Wizards' and Capitals' seasons. Then in early February, he looked noticeably thinner in an interview on Bloomberg TV. Then in early April, the Washington Post's DC Sports Bog posts this tweet of him:
Ted Leonsis weight loss update pic.twitter.com/pZG9rjQpYV— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) April 9, 2013
Then the Bog posts a formal post on it where Wizards players noticed his weight loss, but no one knew why, and Ted has been quiet about it generally speaking.
Also if you look at Monumental Sports' website, on the Caps, Wiz, and Styx's sites, and on Ted's Take, he has updated the photos to reflect his more svelte physique. So, in short, he looks great and a lot healthier than he did at this time last year, and best of luck with him on his fitness goals.
Indiana Fever head coach Lin Dunn showed Ivory Latta some love, saying she was so happy to see Ivory in her first all-star game. She also gave Latta more playing time than anybody else on the East team.
Here is a cool article on Quanitra Hollingsworth and her path to the pros. She started enrolling at VCU when she was 15 and skipped grades while in school because she's an academic prodigy!
Ivory Latta and Emma Meesseman combined for 27 points in the second half to lead Washington past first place Chicago.
This is pretty funny stuff from the Mystics' center and her helium voice is so awesome. All from Monumental Network. If you can't see the video, click here.
The Washington Mystics (9-9) defeated the Chicago Sky (12-5), after recovering from a bad start to the game.
Good morning. Every team will play today or tomorrow as they wrap up their schedules before All-Star break. Three games are on today, but two are matinees. Two of them are on NBA TV. Otherwise, turn on LiveAccess.
Washington hosts the Sky at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Washington recorded season lows in points (52) and field goal percentage (30.9) in a 65-52 loss to Indiana.
From Monumental Network. Coach Thibault apologized for the team's performance in the game which was bad. He also acknowledged the long term task at hand on what had to be done to make this team a perennial contender.
The Shock are out of last place, the Fever moved into sole possession of fourth and the Lynx remained the best team in the WNBA. Meanwhile, we get a more in-depth look at the coaching side of Ivory Latta and reaction from Elena Delle Donne on leading all players in All-Star voting.
The Mystics travel to Indiana to take on the Fever at 7 p.m. on Friday before hosting them at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Washington has a winning record for the first time since June 23 thanks to a blowout victory over the Silver Stars.
The Washington Mystics beat the San Antonio Silver Stars and dominated them in nearly every facet of the game. Rookies Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Nadirah McKenith led DC with a combined 24 points in the game. The Mystics also went for a nine minute stretch from late in the third quarter until late in the fourth where they went on a 20-0 run.
Yesterday, the Seattle Storm signed veteran center Ashley Robinson and waived Cierra Bravard to accommodate her.
Robinson was drafted 14th in the 2004 Draft to the Phoenix Mercury where she played in 2004 and 2005. She was selected in the Chicago Sky's expansion draft for the 2006 season and played there briefly until she was traded to the Storm where she played until the 2012 season. While in Seattle, Robinson was part of the 2010 championship team and played a good number of minutes in the 2011 season as a rebounding and defensive presence.
In 2012, Robinson was traded to the Washington Mystics where she shared starting duties with Michelle Snow, another acquired player for DC that year as part of a veteran movement to get the team back to the playoffs but the team was unsuccessful to say the least.
My belief is that Robinson's going to be the 11th man for the Storm and will see some spot up duty in mostly defensive situations, which is the role she more or less had during her first stint in the Emerald City. You just can't convince me that she's better than rookie forward Tianna Hawkins who needs more time to develop and she knows how to put the ball in the hoop. Also, Alysha Clark has been a very pleasant surprise and deservedly has rotation minutes.
In another form of mostly meaningless trivia, Robinson will be reunited with another member of the 2012 Mystics team with Noelle Quinn, who was a backup swingman on that team.
The Sky and Mystics won despite neither having their game's high scorer and Candace Parker jumped from No. 4 to No. 1 in WNBA.com's "Race to the MVP."
Washington plays at San Antonio on Friday at 8 p.m.
The Sky pulled out a big win to keep their distance from the Mystics and the Liberty and San Antonio won their first game since learning that Becky Hammon will be out for the season.
Ted Leonsis and his company, Monumental Sports & Entertainment owns the NHL (Capitals), NBA (Wizards), and WNBA (Mystics) teams in the Washington, DC area. As a fan of all three of the teams, a season ticket holder for two of them, and have seen multiple games for all three of the teams at Verizon Center the past several seasons, here are some thoughts on all three of the teams as a whole in regards to their potential to win DC a championship, all in one post.
The Mystics take on the Sky at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
The Mystics overcame their worst offensive performance of the season to help their head coach make history.
The Washington Mystics (6-6) were rattled by a furious comeback from the Seattle Storm (5-7) after leading by double digits most of the game but managed to pull off another close victory, winning 62-59. The Mystics now have surpassed last season's win total, and General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault now has 212 career wins, which is the most of all WNBA head coaches.
This is not a continuation or a rebuttal of Zack's preview, but it's something that has been brewing in my head for some time. Most people will look at a team's win and loss record and use that as a metric on how well the team is doing. But teams also need to look long term and know who they are winning with if they want to be long term contenders and have bright futures and that applies for both the Seattle Storm and the Washington Mystics who coincidentally play against each other later tonight in DC.
The Washington Mystics have signed Quanitra Hollingsworth, a 6'5" center who was acquired in a draft day deal with the New York Liberty. The team subsequently waived Jessica Moore who was no more than the 11th man on the team all year and she only played two games. But there's more.
In most cases when a player gets cut in the WNBA, she just goes about her way. However, Moore is staying with the Mystics by joining the basketball operations staff as an assistant, so in many ways, she's like a 12th player of sorts which will be helpful in practice and I think this is a great move by Coach Thibault by keeping her here.
This move to me is a mere formality which I expected. However with Hollingsworth now in DC, she's likely not an 11th man. Does that mean that Emma Meesseman is now the unlucky one because she's a post too? Or is it Nadirah McKenith who has earned two DNP's in her career and hasn't played much to begin with? We'll see as July plays out.
Tina Thompson may have announced her plan to retire at the end of the 2013 season, but she is not done being a competitor just yet.
Zack and I answer more questions on the Mystics' 2013 season including whether their recent five game losing streak is a cause for concern, and on Ivory Latta's and Crystal Langhorne's All-Star candidacies among other things. You can also read the first one here.
A look at the two players who may make the Mystics a legitimate contender in the East this year.
The Mystics spread the wealth to help Mike Thibault tie Van Chancellor for most regular season wins by a head coach in WNBA history.
Mike Thibault and the Washington Mystics beat the Tulsa Shock 84-61 which helped DC match last season's win total. The win also helped Coach T earn his 211th win as a WNBA head coach, tying Van Chancellor's mark for most wins in a head coaching career.
The Mystics host the Shock at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Tamika Catchings had a game-high 28 points in Indiana's victory over the Shock and Minnesota avenged a 28-point loss with a 24-point win.
A non-shooting foul call made it difficult for the Mystics to pull out a victory. DeWanna Bonner's perfection at the line made it impossible.
The Mystics host the Mercury at 7 p.m. Thursday at Verizon Center.
Maya Moore and Angel McCoughtry lead the latest "Race to the MVP" on WNBA.com and Tayler Hill and Tianna Hawkins made their first big contributions, both in losing efforts.
Because Albert is too excited to write about the performance of the Washington Mystics' rookies in a loss to L.A.
The Mystics take on the Sparks at 8:30 p.m. EST on Sunday in Los Angeles.
Last week, I gave my positives and negatives on this season for the Washington Mystics season so far. And no, this is not a post where I'm going to say that I'm taking it all back because the Mystics are now in a two game losing streak given their road losses to Seattle and Phoenix. However, Tayler Hill, the team's first round draft pick has so far failed to deliver as a scorer and other guards on the team have outplayed her on the offensive end. So, should someone else be starting?
Diana Taurasi has been living up to the Mercury's promotional commercials, which call her the best player in the world.
Diana Taurasi had 31 points and 5 assists and Brittney Griner added 21 points to help the Mercury get back to 4-4 for the season by beating the Washington Mystics at home, 90-82. DC falls to 4-3 and is 0-2 on its three game West Coast trip.
Both Phoenix and Washington seem to live and die based on how their best players perform.
Tina Thompson is now the oldest player in WNBA history to record a 30-point game.
Zack and I have been providing our takes on this Washington Mystics season, which has gone off to a strong 4-1 start. We now answer six questions regarding on how this team is doing, and what the future could hold for DC. And while we both are happy with the team's overall performance, we also don't necessarily agree on everything.
Sunday saw Washington pull out yet another exciting victory and extend their winning streak to three games. In their four wins, they have alternated winning by 5 and 4, and one of those contests was tied at the end of regulation. But a win is a win and the Mystics have put themselves in a good position early in the season.
The Washington Mystics went on a 21-13 fourth quarter run to help them get to a 4-1 start and defeat an injury-hobbled Indiana Fever team 64-60.
The Indiana Fever are facing an uphill battle in their attempt to repeat in the East, let alone the WNBA. This is in part because the East's worst teams from a year ago, including their next opponent in the Washington Mystics, seem to be new and improved.
We've gone through four games so far in the 2013 season for the Washington Mystics. Here are my takes on both the things that I like from the team, as well as concerns that I believe need to be rectified.
Latta and Brunson followed up Angel McCoughtry and Candace Parker as the WNBA's best in Week Two.
Ivory Latta and Monique Currie starred as the Mystics overcame 64 combined points from Maya Moore, Rebekkah Brunson and Seimone Augustus.
Sun roster depleted after injuries to Renee Montgomery, Tan White.
A lot of good stuff on Mike Thibault as he faces his old team tomorrow at the Casino.
From a blog post today, Washington Mystics owner Ted Leonsis gave more details on his thoughts regarding the announcement that Monumental Network would be streaming all Mystics games for fans this season.
Some of the possible issues that he had with the Mystics' previous broadcaster, Comcast SportsNet were that the network only played some home games for the Mystics last several years. Leonsis wanted to secure a way for fans to watch at least every home game for free on some medium. Monumental Network allows him to do that and Comcast just wasn't going to cut it for him. Maybe at some point, Monumental could also have Mystics road games too and have a dedicated broadcasting crew for everything. That would allow Mystics fans to watch every game without needing LiveAccess.
Some people may be thinking that only offering games online is not good enough. These people may believe that Leonsis is not working hard enough for the Mystics as he is for the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals NBA and NHL teams which he is better known for owning.
But let's take a step back and look at the media we use today, especially the Internet. Back in the early 2000's, most of us only had dial up internet access if any at all and could only access it through a computer. Today, high speed internet is the norm. We watch tons of streaming content on YouTube, and you may be watching stuff on Netflix, Hulu, and other mediums. It's no different in sports either when you're watching NBA League Pass Broadband in the winter or WNBA LiveAccess right now. And to top it off, you can watch live streaming games on your computer, your mobile device, or even hook your device up to watch on the TV for that matter. The bottom line is that TV isn't the medium that it once was 10 years or even five years ago.
I'm siding with Ted on this one that streaming video content is the future of sports media. I'm also a bit forward thinking on this and said it last week and will say it a bit more strongly now. I look forward to the day that I can watch the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals through a trusted online medium which gives me more flexibility on how I watch my sports programming and am glad that Monumental Network appears to be headed in that direction as well.
The Mystics fell to .500, while the undefeated Dream impressed with their third comfortable victory of 2013.
Today, Monumental Sports & Entertainment announced that it will stream all 17 home games for the Washington Mystics for free through Monumental Network. The Mystics which are owned by one of the largest ownership groups in the WNBA, are the first team to air games exclusively through its own online platform.
In a statement, owner Ted Leonsis said this about the announcement:
We have seen Monumental Network continue to grow and establish itself as a top source for local sports information and programming, and the addition of live games is the logical next step for us. We are also pleased that our first foray into live game broadcasting will allow us to feature the Mystics and provide a platform for both them and the WNBA.
The free viewing through Monumental Network only applies for people who live within 75 miles of Washington, DC. With locals now able to watch Mystics home games online for free, LiveAccess will be blacking them out. But for those who do live outside of the DC area. they can still watch games on LiveAccess.
This doesn't come as any surprise to me because Monumental Sports has already archived the Mystics' preseason game vs. Brazil on May 15. In addition, Leonsis has been pretty open about trying to increase revenues for Monumental Sports, and having a platform like Monumental Network allows that to happen.
Though this is speculation on my part, it also wouldn't surprise me if Washington Wizards basketball and Washington Capitals hockey home games will also be available for live streaming through Monumental Network at some point. It should be noted that the team documentaries for the teams: Caps Red Line, Wizards Magazine, and Mystics Magazine used to be aired on TV through Comcast SportsNet but now are only on Monumental Network.
Only one of the "Three to See" has a WNBA win so far, but they all had predictable performances on Monday: Elena Delle Donne scored, Skylar Diggins distributed and Brittney Griner dunked - emphatically. Check out Michelle Smith's article about Griner and Delle Donne's debuts on espnW, accompanied by a video where Sue Bird reveals who she believes will have the better career.
After today's win against the Tulsa Shock, and considering Washington Mystics guard Tayler Hill's passiveness on the court, especially on offense, there may be some who believe that Matee Ajavon should start the next game which is next Sunday against the Atlanta Dream given that she played very well. But not so fast.
This is an article from yesterday evening by CSNWashington's Ben Standig which focuses on Hill starting specifically. GM/Head Coach Mike Thibault said in an interview that "long term for our success, [Hill] needs to be a part of it" and also said that he will "throw her into the fire, make her learn on the run... concentrate on the defensive end and the offensive side will take care of itself." This goes very well with Point 5 of Mystics owner Ted Leonsis' Ten Point team building plan. In addition, Coach Thibault didn't believe that having all four of his rookies as bench players would make much sense.
As for Matee Ajavon, Mike Thibault said that she "can be a candidate for sixth-man of the year because she can play the point and the two." That is up for debate according to some of you, but I do agree that Ajavon can be a strong scorer in the WNBA, especially against second units. In addition, Ajavon will still play good minutes and also have a chance to be on the "game finishing unit" which she was today.
After reading Coach Thibault's rationale here and I should have seen this yesterday to be honest, everything makes even more sense than before and I'm so happy he's coaching here in the nation's capital. So I'd expect Hill to continue starting games and learning on the fly for now, and Ajavon will still get her time, and also get a chance to close games out when her shooting is on the money like it was today.
This is from the Washington Mystics' facebook page with a quick video (not the best quality) of rookie guard Tayler Hill who is ready to play today vs. the Tulsa Shock:
We all are excited too. DC plays Tulsa at BOK Center at 3 PM Eastern later today.
In addition, there's a preview from the team and click here for that.
Monday afternoon's game between the Shock and Mystics will feature two of the bottom three teams in the WNBA last year, both of who will look to the rookie guards they drafted in the first round.
If you've kept in the loop on the 12 WNBA teams through our offseason StoryStreams, you've probably noticed that the Washington Mystics had the most stuff. And now the season will begin on Memorial Day. Therefore, that means that we're going to bid adieu to this offseason StoryStream, which pretty much shows the spectrum of emotions that many Mystics fans had since the end of last season, and on a personal level, not to sound self serving, it is to a large degree all mine.
Obviously the 2012-2013 offseason started on a somewhat expected note, starting with the termination of former General Manager/Head Coach Trudi Lacey. But right after that things just seemed to take a huge nosedive when the Mystics ended up with the 4th pick in the WNBA Draft. That prompted the Manifesto, which you can find in the Stream.
Between that time and late November after Mike Thibault was terminated by Connecticut, many wondered whether the lottery balls could have spelled the franchise's demise though nothing else besides speculation seemed to indicate otherwise. When Thibault was shown the door in Connecticut, like many others I prayed that Ted Leonsis would hire him.
Fortunately in December, my prayers were answered, and Mike Thibault came to DC as a true A-List head coach where he was confident that he can turn things around, but said there are no shortcuts. After then, he began to make his mark on the team by signing Ivory Latta in free agency, making a couple moves to pick up Kia Vaughn, and also acquired Quanitra Hollingsworth with a third round pick that didn't figure to make the team anyway. These were moves that I thought were impossible before he came to town.
Then in the Draft, he ultimately decided to go with Option 1 of the Manifesto, by selecting Tayler Hill with the first round selection, then going with Nadirah McKenith and Emma Meesseman with his remaining selections. All three are on the opening day roster. He also acquired another rookie guard who's on the team with Tierra Ruffin-Pratt who could also add more positive contributions. Finally, though he did ultimately keep all of the team's top players from the 2012 season, they come to DC this year realizing that nothing is guaranteed with a respected figure like Mike Thibault and hopefully this gets them to play at a higher level than last.
With that said, we now head to the 2013 season.
As some of you have already seen, another member of our team, Zack, who has written a good number of posts on the Maryland women's basketball team this past season will also do the same for the Mystics this summer and some of his pieces on the DC team are out already. I am pleased to tell you that he'll be writing more game stories, give more of a "media-side" take on the team, in particular for games at the Verizon Center this summer.
I'll still be providing a perspective as a fan and try to have some other fans put their thoughts down too, because, I'm only one guy and certainly don't represent everyone who follows this team.
So in the end, we say goodbye to the 2012-2013 Mystics offseason StoryStream, from the standpoint of being a constantly updated feed (you'll still be able to read everything on here), and we look forward to the 2013 Mystics season StoryStream as we get to see how Mike Thibault begins his rebuild of this team.
Some more videos on Monumental Network:
The Washington Mystics now have their final roster. Read here from their website on more.
Washington had a rough 2012 and is trying to turn things around in 2013 despite not drafting one of the "Three to See."
Here's today's Monumental Today from Monumental Network which shows the Mystics taking part in community services for WNBA Cares week. The team worked with DC Central Kitchen, a non profit organization that provides meals to low income people in the District.
Here's a picture as well from their time there:
There's been many videos from the folks at Monumental Network, and I even haven't had time to watch them all. In case you were wondering why Mystics guard Ivory Latta didn't play, it's because she had a leg injury, but in a video interview today with Monumental Sports' Casey Phillips, she feels better.
Given that the Mystics' first regular season game against the Tulsa Shock won't happen until next Monday, I think it's safe to say that barring a setback of some kind, Latta should be ready to go then as she faces her old team.
Tonight, the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will be on television. You can watch it on ABC at 8:00 PM Eastern after the conclusion of Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies which the Spurs won pretty soundly, 105-83. Even better, one of the main subjects of this post, country/pop singer Taylor Swift will be there and is expected to perform too! And one of our community members wrote up a parody of one of her songs as it relates to Washington Mystics fans and their former guard Natalie Novosel, who was cut last Thursday.
I checked the box score stats here and the Mystics went on a quick run and kept the deficit down to two points when the score was 57-55, but at that point, the starters for the Lynx were back and then the Lynx went on a 17-2 run the rest of the way.
Monica Wright led Minny in scoring with 16 points, and also added four rebounds and assists, plus three steals. Maya Moore, Rebekkah Brunson, and Rachel Jarry also scored in double figures.
For DC, only Kia Vaughn had 10 points and seven rebounds. Tayler Hill was 0-9 shooting and had NO POINTS and six turnovers. But having said that, she did get seven rebounds and three assists. Not a good game from her. Crystal Langhorne only had ONE rebound in 22 minutes, and I think she's capable of more than that. Matee Ajavon returned from her overseas play and was 2-7 shooting and had eight points and two assists. Also, the assist to turnover ratio for DC was 10 to 24 and let's hope that was just a bad day at the office for them. Like we saw last Wednseday, both Hill and Nadirah McKenith started in the backcourt, but I'd expect Ivory Latta to start in the regular season.
This was a disappointing performance for the Mystics in the fourth quarter based on how the box scores were going on one hand. But at the same time, the Lynx are just much better so hopefully the Mystics can just use this game as a learning experience before their first regular season game vs. the Tulsa Shock on Monday, May 27.
Two games today featuring WNBA teams playing each other or in other words games when they're NOT playing national teams.
Today, per the Washington Mystics' Twitter page ,they have waived forward Drey Mingo and guard Natalie Novosel. The roster's now at 12 players.
I know that with Novosel's departure, I now look like a fool. I seriously thought she was going to make this team given the relative lack of wing players on the roster. And yes, I wanted her to get a chance to show what she can do and I'll be the first to say that I'm very disappointed that it looks like she won't have that chance at least here in DC.
But having said that, Coach Thibault has made a promise to all fans that he is not signing or keeping anyone simply for sentimental reasons or for Our Girls Syndrome (OGS) reasons. Basketball will be why a player has or doesn't have a job in this league.
Trading away Jasmine Thomas was indicative of that. Not drafting Tianna Hawkins or Sugar Rodgers at #4 when Tayler Hill was the best choice is also indicative of that and there were a number of fans who wanted them here at that spot. After all Christy Winters-Scott at some point thought she'd be a great fit. And yes, cutting Natalie Novosel if she's not good enough for this team right now, which is what Coach Thibault has determined, is also indicative of that. Because I have faith in him and the way he's running this team, I support his decision.
With Novosel out, this also indicates that NONE of the Mystics' Draft Picks or acquired first round draft picks from the previous GM/coaching regime will return for 2013 in the Thibault era. Those players are Ta'Shia Phillips, Victoria Dunlap, and Jasmine Thomas (who was technically a Storm draft pick) from 2011; and LaSondra Barrett and now Natalie Novosel from 2012.
I'm kind of bummed, but like I said, I want Mike Thibault to rebuild this team for sustained long term success, and if this is what he has to do, this is what he has to do.
And yes, we all wish Natalie Novosel and Drey Mingo the best as they try to find roles on other WNBA teams.
After a slow start, the Washington Mystics eventually pulled away and beat Team Brazil 71-56.
Tayler Hill started, played 21 minutes and scored 12 points including two three point shots. Emma Meesseman also scored 12 points off the bench and added three rebounds and three dimes. Nadirah McKenith played 23 minutes and got to start at the other guard slot with Ivory Latta not playing but gave up four turnovers and only dished two assists. I wasn't there, so I don't know why Latta didn't play. And Natalie Novosel played 16 minutes where she got two steals, two rebounds, but only two points, both on free throws.
Among the veteran players, Monique Currie had the best day with six assists and no turnovers, and also scored 11 points,7 of them with free throws. However, she was 2-9 overall shooting so hopefully that's just a bad day at the office in that regard.
Both teams didn't shoot well at all with Brazil making a tad shy of 34% of their shots and the Mystics couldn't even get a third of theirs in, so I don't think this game could have been all that great to see in person. The Mystics made 27-32 free throws while Brazil made 12 of 14 and without the favorable free throw differential which is indicative of a Mike Thibault team the last couple years, the Mystics could have lost this one, but again, that's without actually watching this game.
Besides Currie's off-day shooting wise though she was dishing the rock very well, Tierra Ruffin Pratt was 0-7 shooting overall and Drey Mingo was 1-5 shooting overall so that may have made the stats look worse than the game.
Still, I'm happy that Coach T is focusing on the young players even though it's preseason.
On Saturday, DC travels to Bismarck, North Dakota to play the Minnesota Lynx and Matee Ajavon should return for that game.
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