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Washington Mystics could take next step

The Washington Mystics return the majority of their core player, and with the emergence of rookie Natasha Cloud, the Mystics could be even better this season.

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The Washington Mystics finished third overall in the Eastern conference, despite a record of 16 and 18. During the preseason, the Mystics won two out of their three games, and lost a close one by two points to the Indiana Fever. So far, they are on a good role towards a successful season.

Will veteran leadership help guide young Mystics team to victory?

The return of veterans Ivory Latta, Kara Lawson and Kia Vaughn will be vital in helping bring leadership to a very young Mystics team. Lawson who was the floor general for the team, and had a great showing during the 2014 playoffs against the Indiana Fever. Lawson averaged 14.5 points per game and 3.4 assists per game.

Latta who was the team's leading scorer, continued to be during the playoffs last year, averaging 17 points per game while dishing out 4.5 assists per game. Vaughn averaged 23 minutes and grabbed 5 rebounds per game during last year's playoffs. All three have the leadership and experience to continue to lead this young Mystics team to the playoffs again and even more a championship.

What does the return of Tayler Hill mean?

After sitting out last year due to Hill having her first baby, this upcoming season could potentially be a break out year for her. Hill is a great shooter and wing defender that they missed while she was gone. The Mystics are extremely looking forward to her playing this season.

Rookie Natasha Cloud has shined

Cloud is a 6'0 foot guard, that can benefit the Mystics a lot this season. She was drafted No. 15 overall from Saint Joseph's University, where she averaged 12.9 points per game and 6.6 assists per game. Her versatility and unique skill set is something that Coach Mike Thibault is excited about.

She chipped in 10.7 points per game during the preseason, while averaging 25.3 minutes per game. Cloud could be a pleasant surprise for the Mystics this year, as she could end up being a dominant force for them.

Can progress from last year carry over to this year?

Going 2-1 in the preseason, and beating two of the top teams in the WNBA, Minnesota Lynx and Atlanta Dream, is that an indication of good things to come for the 2015 season?

Last year was one of the Mystics' best seasons, and that should fuel their motivation for them, to do even better this year. They made it to the first round in the 2014 playoffs, before bowing out to a very good Indiana Fever team. The Mystics have made little changes to their roster, so it's feasible to believe that similar results, if not better, could abound this year.