Screenshot from YouTube, courtesy of Edward Strand

2012-2013 Washington Mystics Offseason: Tayler Hill drafted as a major piece for the team's future

After firing General Manager and Head Coach Trudi Lacey shortly after their worst two season stretch in franchise history, the Washington Mystics hire former Connecticut Sun head coach Mike Thibault to replace her. Since then, the team's long term future and upside have improved considerably with the acquisition of a new presumptive starting backcourt of rookie Tayler Hill and former Shock guard Ivory Latta, as well as new low post players such as Kia Vaughn and Quanitra Hollingsworth.

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72 Total Updates since May 22, 2013
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Ivory Latta named new assistant coach at North Carolina

Per InsideCarolina: Ivory Latta has been hired to replace Trisha Stafford-Odom as the new assistant coach at North Carolina. Odom just recently left her position at North Carolina to take the head coaching position at Concordia. Latta was a three-time All-American during her time as starting point guard for the Tar Heels. She currently is in her sixth season in the WNBA; she is playing this season with the Washington Mystics.

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DC's Offseason StoryStream bids adieu

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.

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Mystics cut Peddy, set final roster

The Washington Mystics now have their final roster. Read here from their website on more.

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Are new pieces enough to make Mystics competitive?

Washington had a rough 2012 and is trying to turn things around in 2013 despite not drafting one of the "Three to See."

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A WNBA fan's Taylor Swift parody for Mystics fans

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.

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Novosel and Mingo cut from DC

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.

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Some videos from DC's media day

Last Thursday, the Washington Mystics held their media day to the public. Watch some videos including with Coach T, Lang, Mo Currie, Kia, Tayler, and more.

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Mystics cut Bobbitt, Corral, Warley

The Washington Mystics have cut three players: guard Shannon Bobbitt, guard Ashley Corral, and center Avery Warley. The roster is now at 13 players including guard Matee Ajavon who is still overseas.

Bobbitt and Corral's departures should come as no surprise. I'm a little surprised with Warley being cut however this early in camp. Still, considering that there are a good number of posts here in the DMV, and that it wouldn't be surprising to see Emma Meesseman stay on this roster all season, some post player besides Crystal Langhorne and Kia Vaughn was going to get cut.

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A Devil's Advocate Approach on DC's offseason

I've been an advocate of change on the Washington Mystics roster and a good number of you all concur with those beliefs. But there has been a side that hasn't had a fair opportunity to be spoken for here, which consists of fans who believe that a massive overhaul of the core of the roster isn't necessary. So here we'll take a look at why.

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Mystics need to commit to youth like the Wizards

With the 2013 Draft now in the books as well as a number of moves made to improve the team, the Washington Mystics figure to have a team that is more competitive night in and night out. But there are still many questions that need to be resolved, not only for this season, but for the long term future. One thing however is for certain. The Mystics must commit to their younger players right now and for the foreseeable future if they want to be perennial contenders.

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Washington Mystics sign Purdue center Drey Mingo

"I'm incredibly honored and excited for the chance to pursue my dream of playing in the WNBA," Drey Mingo said. "And I would like to thank the Mystics for giving me the opportunity to be a part of their organization."

Purdue Athletics
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Round 2, Pick 7: DC selects Emma Messerman

Not a Division I player, but James Bowman has a little info on her in the open thread.

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Round 2, Pick 5: DC selects Nadirah McKenith

Wows: Love this pick for the Mystics. I had McKenith rated ahead of Bentley or Whyte as a point guard in this draft. And the reason is that she maintained a strong assist ratio despite having to score so much for her team. She has pretty strong potential as a WNBA point guard. And just because this probably won't get talked about much, she rebounds very well for a point guard.

Wonders: She's not a very strong 3-point shooter, but that doesn't always doom point guard prospects.

Worries: So maybe I've been listening to Queenie and Starkman too much, but I really like McKenith as a point guard. The only concerns I've had is that at times she can get too aggressive. But again, the reason for that was St. John's needed her to score a lot. She has the makings of someone who can contribute at the WNBA level.

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Round 1, Pick 4: Washington selects Tayler Hill

The Washington Mystics have selected Ohio State star Tayler Hill, a 5'10" guard from Minneapolis as their first round draft pick. Hill is the fourth pick in the 2013 Draft, and is considered to be one of the top guards in the draft class.

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Hollingsworth traded to DC from NY

Today, the Washington Mystics announced that they have acquired Quanitra Hollingsworth of the New York Liberty in exchange for the 25th pick in the 2013 Draft.

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Thibault talks about DC's 2013 Draft strategy

Today, Washington Mystics General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault gave an interview today on Monumental Network in regards to what he's looking for in the 2013 Draft. The interview is a little over eight minutes long.

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VCU assistant Eric Thibault joins the Mystics

Today, the Washington Mystics completed their coaching staff with the hiring of Eric Thibault as an assistant coach. Marianne Stanley is the other assistant on the team. Coach Thibault comes from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) where he was an assistant coach on their women's basketball team. The Rams were 11-19 this season, and 4-10 in their inaugural season in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

In another release from VCU, Coach Thibault issued a statement on his departure:

I would like to thank Coach [Marlene] Stollings, our players and staff, and the entire VCU community for an incredible experience this past season," added Thibault. "I feel very lucky that I was able to learn from Coach Stollings and work each day with our exceptional student-athletes. I am excited to watch VCU Women's Basketball continue to build and develop into one of the elite programs in both the A-10 and on the national stage.

Before coming to VCU for the 2012-2013 season, Coach Thibault was a graduate assistant at St. John's University from 2010-2012 under then-head coach Kim Barnes Arico's tutelage where he also earned his master's in Sports Management. While he was there, the Red Storm made two straight NCAA tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2012. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 2009 where he was an assistant manager of the women's basketball team there. Lastly, he spent five years with the Connecticut Sun from 2008-2012 where he was involved with individual workouts and scouting.

And yes in case you were wondering, Coach Eric Thibault is the son of Head Coach/GM Mike Thibault.

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A Natalie Novosel interview with the Mystics

Considering that there are multiple posts on her in the last couple days, I declare this week "Natalie Novosel Week!"

Here's a video link from Monumental Network, which was taken during the same time as the STH event this past Wednesday.

It should be noted that in the interview Casey Phillips mentioned that Natalie's overseas team, Targoviste based in Romania folded, which refers to when the team's budget was slashed in half last December and this prompted Natalie to leave the team along with other players, which included current Mystics forward Monique Currie, but she was only expected to play on the team through December anyway. However, the team still clearly played games after the start of 2013, which doesn't seem to indicate that the team ceased operations midseason.

Still, we're glad to hear from Natalie herself that she's happy to be in a new system here in DC as the Mystics build their team for future success.

In addition, Mystics forward Crystal Langhorne was in town last week and here's her video where she gives her take on Mike Thibault and her overseas team.

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Coach Thibault video on Vaughn and Novosel

Here's a video of Mystics GM/Coach Mike Thibault in regards to the recent offseason transactions involving center Kia Vaughn and guard Natalie Novosel who is in DC for offseason workouts. All courtesy of Monumental Network.

In the video, in regards to Vaughn Coach Thibault noted that she is a young player who is entering her prime, and will be a good fit in DC. He also wished that Natalie played more in the latter half or the 2012 season. Though she played at least 12 minutes in the team's last four games she also had three games in September when she played one (vs the Sun on 9/4), two (vs the Liberty on 9/12), and five minutes (vs the Liberty on 9/1). In that month, the Mystics were also totally out of the playoff picture. Coach got a chance to talk to her more in depth and believes that this will be a fresh start, which truthtella noted in our piece regarding Natalie being at yesterday's STH event and for the Wizards' game vs. the Pistons.

UPDATE on March 1, 2013, 6:25 PM: Since coming to DC, Thibault has been very active supporting the Wizards and Capitals, and Ted Leonsis gives a nice take here on that.

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Chamique Holdsclaw indicted for shooting incident

Earlier today, a Fulton County, GA grand jury indicted former WNBA all star Chamique Holdsclaw of five criminal counts, including two counts of aggravated assault, one count of first degree criminal damage, two counts of second degree criminal damage, and one count of possession of a firearm in commission of a felony, according to USA Today. These charges stem from an incident last November which involved Tulsa Shock forward Jennifer Lacy's vehicle which was broken in and shot into.

In addition, Holdsclaw faces up to 65 years in prison if found guilty of all counts according to TMZ.com. For the time being, Holdsclaw is free on a $100,000 bond.

Stay tuned to this story by following our StoryStream.

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Mystics acquire Kia Vaughn from the Liberty

Today, the New York Liberty have announced that they have traded restricted free agent center Kia Vaughn and the 17th pick in the 2013 Draft to the Washington Mystics in exchange for the 7th overall pick in the Draft which was acquired in a deal involving Jasmine Thomas. Vaughn is entering her fifth WNBA season where she averaged 6.4 points and 5 rebounds a game in 31 games played including 17 starts in 2012. Her best season statistically was in 2011 where she was named the WNBA's Most Improved Player.

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Mystics Trade Thomas for 7th and 19th Draft Picks

Today, the Atlanta Dream announced that it has acquired guard Jasmine Thomas as well as the 13th overall pick in the 2013 Draft from the Washington Mystics. Washington acquired the 7th and 19th overall picks in the 2013 Draft from the Dream.

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A Storm fan's thoughts on the Mystics' offseason

In this second part of the Q&A we ask Storm fan and season ticket holder Patrick Sheehy on his thoughts regarding the Washington Mystics' current offseason which is highlighted by a major hire with Mike Thibault coming in as the new GM and head coach. So far, most of the viewpoints on their offseason come from a Mystics fan perspective. Maybe I am not level headed and am undervaluing or overvaluing certain aspects on this team. So now, let's see this team's offseason from another fanbase's point of view which could add some more perspective into things.

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How will Johnson & Quinn signings help the Storm?

As announced yesterday, the Seattle Storm have signed Temeka Johnson and Noelle Quinn. But how specifically does that help them and what does it mean for the other teams who have lost out on their former players? Click here for the link to the actual announcement.

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Ivory Latta signs with the Mystics

Today, the Washington Mystics announced that they have signed Ivory Latta who was one of the WNBA's top unrestricted free agents at the point guard position.

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John Altavilla interviews Mystics' Mike Thibault

In a blog post from Hartford Courant writer John Altavilla yesterday, he offers some details regarding Washington Mystics General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault regarding what he has been up to now that the "honeymoon" period of his hiring has ended. Here are the big points:

1. Coach Thibault stated that his assistants from Connecticut, Scott Hawk and Bernadette Maddox, will not return, so there will be a new staff behind him.

2. Like other WNBA coaches and scouts at this time of year, he is hard at work scouting, where he was at Maryland's home game against Florida State last weekend, and also at Georgetown's game last Wednesday against the University of Connecticut. The play of Huskies guard Kelly Faris has caught his eye, in part given that she has become a more efficient shooter all around (here are her stats for this year as opposed to past years). Still, it's unlikely that she is a serious candidate at the Mystics' current 2013 draft position at 4th, unlike Maryland power forward Tianna Hawkins who is currently averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds a game and has improved a lot from last season.

Not mentioned in the piece, but I saw Coach Thibault and his son at last Monday's Wizards game against the Oklahoma City Thunder too.

3. This is not surprising to me, and I admit that I have advocated this from last September:

Thibault said the Mystics are exploring opportunities to move up in the draft, perhaps as high as No. 2 where they could take Delaware All-American Elena Delle Donne. Chicago currently holds the pick.

In Altavilla's piece, he also basically confirmed that the Mystics are a front court heavy team, mentioning that as of right now, they have Crystal Langhorne, Monique Currie, and Michelle Snow to build around. From Coach Thibault's Q&A with season ticket holders last month, he mentioned that guards, in particular point guards were a priority considering the lack of talent depth there, so there's a good chance that if the Mystics pick higher than 4th, they could be eyeing Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins not unlike how the Washington Redskins NFL team determined that they needed a star rookie quarterback at a very high position this past year. But at the same time, he may be able to pick up a decent non-rookie guard via free agency or by trade so perhaps not.

4. Last but not least, this was an interesting tidbit in regards to the Portland Trail Blazers offering Coach Thibault an assistant coach spot to return to the NBA. The offer with the Blazers happened during the 2012 WNBA season and if Coach Thibault accepted it, he would have had to resign midseason for the job. So therefore, it seems that Monumental Sports did not have to compete against the Blazers simultaneously for his services.

Do these tidbits perhaps signal what direction he's going in specifically? Not really to me since we don't know whether he'd keep the core of the team intact or not. But Coach Thibault is doing his due diligence, and not leaving any stone unturned is a good strategy to keep everyone guessing as to how he will improve the team during free agency and as we head toward the 2013 Draft.

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Thibault sees opportunity to make Mystics elite

Newly hired Washington Mystics head coach and general manager Mike Thibault says he will focus on free agency before making any decisions about whether or not to break up the core of the WNBA-worst Mystics.

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Links on Mike Thibault as Mystics GM and Coach

So, there's a lot more buzz going around the WNBA at this time of year because the Washington Mystics hired Mike Thibault as their new General Manager and Head Coach. And the reviews are all positive.

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Mike Thibault named Mystics head coach/GM

Today, Monumental Sports and Entertainment announced that Mike Thibault has been named General Manager and Head Coach of the Washington Mystics. This comes after a nearly three month search to replace Trudi Lacey, his predecessor.

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Poll: Who will the Mystics hire as next GM/coach?

The mystery is over - at 4pm ET on December 18, 2012 the Washington Mystics shall announce their new coach and GM.

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Mystics to hire new GM & head coach on Tuesday

After a nearly three month search, Monumental Sports and Entertainment will name its new general manager and head coach for the Washington Mystics, tomorrow at 4:00 PM Eastern Time. The event will be streamed through the team's website. It is not known whether the new hire would be both General Manager and Head Coach, or if there are two separate people in those roles.

Though the Mystics will not officially say who is the new leader of basketball operations for the team, Mike Thibault, former head coach of the Connecticut Sun had recent discussions with the team regarding those vacancies.

Update: Edited the dates from 12/17 to 12/18... Today is Monday, December 17, and tomorrow would be December 18.

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Mike Thibault In Talks With Washington Mystics

According to a tweet from Hartford Courant writer John Altavilla, former Connecticut Sun head coach Mike Thibault has been in contact with the Washington Mystics in regards to their vacant general manager and/or head coach positions.

Should he be hired to the Mystics' front office, this could inject some hope for some fans.

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Mystics Have No "Set" Timetable to Hire GM/Coach

According to a chat with ESPN writer Mechelle Voepel on Thursday, November 15, 2012, she noted that a spokesman for the team stated that there is no timetable as to when a new General Manager and/or Head Coach would be named. This also comes in addition to an article from the Washington Business Journal this past Wednesday that Washington Wizards and Mystics business chief Greg Bibb will leave Monumental Sports and Entertainment, effective December 31, 2012.

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Washington Mystics Still Looking for New GM

According to Womhoops Guru Mel Greenberg, the Washington Mystics are apparently no closer to hiring their next General Manager and/or Head Coach.

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What's next for the Washington Mystics?

Last Wednesday, the Washington Mystics received the 4th pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft Lottery, which was an additional disappointment after the team went through its worst two year stretch in franchise history on the basketball court.

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