It's Fan Appreciation Night in Verizon Center, and the regular season finale. The Washington Mystics (16-18) were happy to be in the playoffs, and had a chance to clinch at least the #3 seed in the East. Instead, they played lethargically, and lost to the New York Liberty (14-19), 73-61, in a game that really felt worse than that.
In a press conference (embed above or click here), Mystics head coach Mike Thibault mentioned that they arrived back in Washington past 4 a.m. ET after their playoff clinching win against the Connecticut Sun. So fatigue played a factor. Then, the win was emotional, because the team squandered its two previous chances to clinch the playoffs.
Sure, these are legitimate reasons as to why a team may not be able to play at an optimal level. But when a team shoots like this all game, and misses easy bunnies at the rim:
and commits 11 turnovers in the first half WITHOUT FORCING THE LIBERTY TO COMMIT EVEN ONE TURNOVER, that's just pathetic.
Yeah, the Mystics are now 0-0 and they're going to play some team next week. But you can't perform like this, even when fatigued. It goes beyond the Mystics too.
This team is in a city where people have tons of options to spend their time and money for their sports and entertainment, most notably the Nationals and Orioles baseball teams. When the Mystics aren't performing at an acceptable level, that lowers any incentive to watch their games. And when the WNBA is trying to get NBA fans to appreciate their league more, these types of performances aren't going to be an incentive for Wizards fans to want to watch this Mystics team.
It's one thing to lose a game. But this performance certainly wasn't a game where fans got their money's worth of basketball.
- Plenette Pierson led all scorers with 20 points, and scored 16 of them in the first half. She shot 6-of-6 from the field in that half too.
- Swin Cash was the other Liberty player to score in double figures.
- Emma Meesseman probably was the player of the game for the Mystics. She had 8 points,12 rebounds, and 2 assists. She also had 4 turnovers, so her performance wasn't that good either.
- Ivory Latta scored 15 points and dished 5 turnovers. Her lone highlight was a trademark three from Latta(TM) range near the end of the third quarter, but overall, she played poorly.
- After the game, Mystics players handed their jerseys to some selected fans. I have to feel for Monumental Network's Jumoke Davis who had to sound all cheery about that.
- The 16-18 record ties a career worst regular season for Mike Thibault. The last time he coached a 16-18 team was in the 2009 season for the Connecticut Sun. That team was tied for fourth place with the Chicago Sky and Washington Mystics, but was denied a berth due to tiebreakers where they fell behind the Mystics, who made the playoffs that season, and the Sky.