Saturday, June 30, 2007

Lang & Company Do It Again.

If the USA U21 team was the least bit tired from yesterday's come-from-behind win over Australia, they sure didn't show it in this morning's matchup against Brazil, which the USA won by a score of 96-40.

Maryland's own Crystal Langhorne, starting at power forward for the Americans, and her frontcourt teammate, Courtney Paris of Oklahoma, so dominated the paint that the game was over before half-time. The USA outscored Brazil, 24-8, in the first ten minutes and followed it up with a 30-5 second period. Game. Set. Match. Crystal scored the first basket of the game, and then went a perfect 9-9 from the field to finish with top-scoring honors, 19 points in only 18 minutes of play. Courtney was nearly perfect from the field, hitting only 6-7, but did lead all rebounders with 9, so we guess we shouldn't be too critical of her performance. (j/k) The USA's bench got plenty of PT in this one. We're happy to report that our other Terrapin, Laura Harper, was close on Courtney's heels, pulling down 8 boards and scoring 10 points in 17 minutes on the court. Like Courtney, Harp also missed just a single FG attempt (2-3), but she was perfect from the free throw line, 6-6.

After these back-to-back games yesterday and this morning, the USA team plays again tomorrow, this time facing off against a hungry Hungary team. Two years ago in an exhibition game prior to the U19 FIBA World Championships, Hungary upset the Americans, a loss that was avenged when real tournament play began a short time later. Hungary is currently 1-1 in the FIBA Championship, having beaten Japan, but losing to Australia.

Photo Credit: USA Basketball

Friday, June 29, 2007

OMG, What A Win! The Mystics returned to the Phone Booth tonight after a successful and exciting road trip to play the defending WNBA Champion Detroit Shock. After the Mystics had outscored the Shock, 17-13, in the first quarter, it certainly looked like the Mystics had, indeed, brought their uptempo road-offense home to Verizon Center. But, as every player and fan knows, a game isn't won in a single quarter; unfortunately, for most of the evening, it looked to the Mystics' fans that it actually could be lost in one. The Mystics committed 10 turnovers and scored only 7 points (ouch!) in the 2nd quarter, while Detroit, largely due to an impressive shooting night by Deanna Nolan (26 points), racked up 27 in that 10 minute period to take a 16-point lead into the locker room. We swear we heard the Fat Lady warming up her voice in the tunnel.

But just as Maryland's Crystal Langhorne and her USA U21 Basketball teammates fought back this morning from a 16-point deficit to post a win against Australia, DeLisha Milton-Jones and Alana Beard (both members of the last USA Basketball Senior women's team) held the Mystics together in the second half, outscoring the Shock by 2 in the 3rd, and then, just when Detroit thought they had it won, Alana, Dee and their teammates put on a ferocious offensive charge, clamped down on the defensive end, and tied it all up with a monster drive inside by AB, who scored and was fouled. AB sank the free throw, giving the Mystics a one-point lead with a mere 13 seconds remaining! The crowd went wild, and the Mystics held on in the final 13 ticks for a 65-64 win.

Now some would say that this low-scoring, turnover-infested game was ugly. But the BasketCases say, there is no such thing as a pretty loss and there is no such thing as an ugly win! Congratulations tonight to the Mystics . . . They're Baaaack!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

There Is Absolutely No Truth to the rumor that Kia Vaughn is transferring to Maryland! Whoever is spreading such irresponsible lies should be ashamed! Ashamed!

Rutgers' Essence Carson (L) and her ex-teammate Kia Vaughn (R) in Red Square in Moscow. Essence is wearing a flattering navy blue Nike USA Basketball ensemble, while Kia is looking mighty smart in her red Rutgers University of Maryland tee.

Kia: Courtney, as far as I'm concerned, you should just keep your opinions to yourself. Sa'de is very happy at Maryland and if another player decided to follow her lead, that's no business of yours!

Harp: Kia, you are just too funny! I can tell already. . . it is going to be so great being your Terps USA Basketball teammate!

Check out the complete photo gallery of the USA U21 Basketball team's sightseeing in Moscow as they prepare for the FIBA World Championships. The USA team opens championship play tomorrow against a strong Australian team. Good Luck to Terrapins Crystal, Lang and Kia, and the entire USA team!
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Photo Credits: USA Basketball

[Note to our readers: You do realize we are joking about Kia? Her luggage was lost and an un-named Maryland player (who never travels without surplus wardrobe) was kind enough to come to Kia's rescue.]

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Friday AM Update: The USA U21 team clawed its way back from a 16-point deficit to beat the Aussies this morning, 90-88, in a nailbiter of a game. Candice Wiggins led the Americans in scoring with 30 points, and the Terps' own Crystal Langhorne was a major contributor to the comeback and to the win, posting 24 points and 16 rebounds (10 offensive!). You can read the full report here, courtesy of USA Basketball. Congratulations to the entire USA team on this exciting victory!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bear with Us.

Graham Hays takes a close look today at Mystics Interim Head Coach Tree Rollins, in an excellent article found on Alana has this to say about Tree . . .

"I think he continues to remind us that it's just basketball and the coaches can only do so much," Beard said."I think Tree does a great job of just giving us a little structure but allowing us to go out there and really take control out on the floor as players. And we didn't have that the past couple of years. You know, he gives us a little bit of structure and it's our time."
The coach is quick to point out that he's not just rolling the ball out on the floor and taking a seat on bench to see what happens.

Well, that's good to know! As for Tree's demeanor and personality, Alana has an opinion on that, too . .

."There's definitely two sides to him; he's a teddy and he's a bear," Beard said with a wry smile. "You've got the teddy part, and you don't want to see the bear very often. But we have seen it a few times."

There's plenty more of interest in Graham's column . . . the BasketCases rate it a must read!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Total Eclipse of the Sun. The Mystics continued their success tonight against teams with astronomical associations, posting a decisive win over the Connecticut Sun, 91-75, in Uncasville.

The story of the first half was the young Mystics bench. While the starters stuggled early, hitting only slightly over 25% from the field, the bench, led by diva Nikki Blue's 10 first half points, took up the slack, allowing the team to enter the locker room up by 9. In fact, it was a big night for both divas. While Tamara James did most of her scoring in the second half, like Nikki B, she also finished in double figures. As Linda Hargrove said tonight, "the bench came through for us."

In the second half, it was All Alana All the Time! No doubt disappointed by her first-half performance, Alana Beard roared back in the 3rd quarter, scoring 16 consecutive points for the Mystics! By the time AB was ready to catch her breath and head to the bench (posting 20 points and leading all scorers), Washington held what proved to be an insurmountable lead.

The Mystics return from their 4-game road trip with a record of 3 and 1 (losing to the one team pretty much everyone thought they'd beat . . . go figure), are now 4 and 10 (after starting the season 0-8), and have their first winning streak of the season! In their last three wins, the Mystics have scored 106, 99, and 91 points. These two Mystics fans hope the team doesn't forget to pack that high-powered offense when they return to the Phone Booth Friday night to play the Shock.

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The BasketCases would like to thank Frank Hanrahan, the voice of the Mystics, for his shout out tonight. (Frank, we still think you should've tried Krazy Kops!)

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If you'd like to congratulate diva Nikki Blue in person for tonight's performance, you can catch her on Thursday from 4-6pm at Bloom grocery store, 20789 Great Falls Plaza in Sterling, Virginia, where she'll be greeting fans, signing autographs, and providing diva fashion advice (and perhaps also doing her shopping for the Mystics' upcoming home stand).

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Update: Not having seen the game, apparently we missed the fact that DMJ contributed to the Mystics' win in ways that didn't end up in the box score. In Mike DiMauro's column this morning in The, the Sun's Katie Douglas, disappointed with her own teammates' "softness," remarked,

“Look at DeLisha,” exasperated guard Katie Douglas was saying Tuesday night, following the Sun's rock-bottom (or maybe not) 91-75 loss to Washington at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Douglas was talking about Mystics forward DeLisha Milton-Jones. “She's out there taking people's heads off,” Douglas said. “She's a great teammate. She plays with a nastiness about her.”

Monday, June 25, 2007

Are You Krazy? The BasketCases' favorite official Mystics blogger (and play-by-play announcer -- in his spare time, no doubt), Frank Hanrahan (hey, Frank, any relation to Miss Hanrahan, one of our favorite high school gym teachers?) is with the Mystics in Connecticut at the Mohegan Sun, but claims "There will be no gambling . . ."! You can (and should) read everything Frank has to say on his regular (and excellent) blog, Beyond 94 feet, on the Mystics' website.

Frank, we luv you buddy, but, grocery shopping's not entertainment . . . to keep from going krazy, you need to track down some Krazy Kops! We check out your blogs . . .now YOU've got to check out the smoke-free slots at Mohegan! Take the BasketCases' word for it (not to mention, the word of Krazy Lib fans and an even Krazier Brazilian!) -- Krazy Kops is the BEST gambling fun in Connecticut! Trust us, there's no better way to while away the time before the Mystics face off Tuesday night against the Sun at 7 PM and look to avenge their season-opening loss at Verizon as well as begin their first winning streak of the 2007 campaign. (Our loyal readers, and disloyal readers too, can listen to Frank broadcast the game on 1260-AM, or can pick up his feed via

P.S. Frank, you really can't use an iPod?? It's one of the greatest inventions known to man or womankind!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Blue Sky.

I was blue, just as blue as I could be
Every day was a cloudy day for me
Then good luck came a-knocking at my door

Skies were gray but they're not gray anymore
Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see*

The Mystics traveled this morning from Houston to Chicago to face the only team in today's WNBA schedule not playing a back-to-back. But the road-tested Mystics, not the home-rested Sky, were the team that played with the most energy, coming away with their 3rd win of the season and finally beating a team other than Phoenix.

The Mystics took a slim lead at the end of the first quarter tonight and added to it as the game progressed, winning 99-86. Interim Head Coach Tree Rollins obviously read the BasketCases' last post, and started Monique Currie, who had 14 points. In fact, all five of the Mystics' starters finished in double figures, as the Mystics shot a superb 58% from the field.

With tonight's victory, the Mystics have finally matched the number of wins in their inaugural season -- three. We have to confess that we'd been worried that they might not get there. So our enjoyment in seeing the team win tonight was also mixed with a great deal of relief.

The last stop for the Mystics on the current road trip is Uncasville, Connecticut, where they face the Sun on Tuesday. Perhaps their success against teams with meteorological or astronomical connections will continue. We certainly hope so.

*With apologies to Irving Berlin

Friday, June 22, 2007

Streakless in Seattle Houston. Following each of their (only) two victories this season, the Mystics faced a very beatable opponent, giving them the chance to start a winning streak and gain some momentum for the remainder of the season. But once again, they squandered that opportunity, losing tonight against the Comets, who were 1 and 10 coming into the game, the only team in the league with a record worse than that of the Mystics. Now, however, the teams are tied at 2 and 10 for cellar-dweller status, and the Mystics have lost to every team they've faced this season except Phoenix.

The Mystics were up by nine at one point during the first half tonight, largely due to the quantity and quality of their free throw shooting. By halftime, however, the lead had disappeared and the score was tied at 43. Houston pulled ahead during the third quarter and never looked back, winning 95-85.

Except for Mo (15 points -- why isn't she starting?), the Mystics got almost no help from their bench tonight, and not much help from a couple of starters, either, though they did get double digit scoring from DeLisha, Alana, and Nakia. However, when your opponent outshoots you 54% to 36% and outrebounds you 33-23, it's almost impossible to come out on top, and the impossible did not happen tonight.

There were six games being played tonight, which means that every team was in action but one: the Sky. And that's exactly who the Mystics face tomorrow night in Chicago. (8pm EDT, broadcast on NBA-TV and web cast at

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Scoring Records and a Win! Wow, wasn't that just the greatest game we never saw . . . not to mention the greatest game we never listened to! We miss one darn late-night away game in what to date has been the most disappointing season, and wake up to find that the Mystics had saved up virtually all of their offense to play Phoenix on the road, scoring 106 points (106 points!!) -- a franchise record -- to beat the Mercury, which wasn't exactly slacking off in the shooting department either and also broke the century mark with 101. The combined score of 207 points was the highest ever in regulation for a WNBA game, and the Merc's 101 points reportedly were the most scored by a losing team. (Really, can you imagine scoring 101 points in regulation and losing? Ouch!) And while we admittedly did not see the game, we have to guess that not a lot of defense was being played last night by either team. (As ACC fans, we're used to that!!)

Congratulations to Mystics rookie Bernice Mosby, who had her first career double-double, with 13 points and 13 boards. Alana Beard led all scorers with 29, and DeLisha Milton-Jones was close behind at 22.

The sore loser award for last night's game goes to the Arizona Republic, which is reporting that, "against the Mystics, the Mercury continued to play to beneath the level of the of the bottom of the standings." Come on now, scoring 101 points (and doing so without injured star Cappie Pondexter) is hardly playing beneath anything.

The Mystics are now 2 and 9, with their only victories coming against Phoenix. Unfortunately, they don't play the Merc again this season. Phoenix Coach Paul Westhead, however, is pretty happy about that: "I'm glad we're not going to see them again. Sometimes there's a certain team that just feels comfortable playing you. Apparently whatever we did in Washington brought out a good feeling for them.''

The BasketCases are certainly hoping that that the "good feeling" continues and that the Mystics can find a comfort level against some other teams as well, and start beating them too! Beginning with the (no-longer winless) Comets this Friday. We also hope they bring back some of that offense to the Phone Booth! For now, congratulations to the Mystics on a HUGE and record setting WIN!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Re-Match. A Week After Beating the Mercury at the Phone Booth (their only win in 10 games), the Mystics begin a 4-game road swing tonight with a rematch in Phoenix tipping off at 10 PM EDT. The game will be broadcast on AM-1260 radio. Unfortunately, since 10 PM is bumping up against the BasketCases' bedtime (it is a school night!), we will not be able to provide you with an ear-witness account. But don't think that our not seeing and not hearing the game will stop us from providing you, our loyal readers, with our comments, so check this space tomorrow!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Yah Yah! Terps land 5-star 2008 Recruit. According to, Lynetta ("Yah Yah") Kizer from nearby Potomac H.S. in Woodbridge, VA, committed Monday to play for the Maryland Terrapins.

HoopGurlz ranks Kizer as the Top Post Prospect of the entire 2008 recruiting class! With the upcoming graduations of Lang, Harp and Jade Perry at the end of the 2007-08 season, and with several highly-rated guards, as well as wing-forward Drey Mingo (not to be confused with Trey Wingo) already committed to Maryland, inking a strong center was, no doubt, a top priority for Coach B and the entire Maryland recruiting staff. Adding Lynetta, whom HoopGurlz describes as "arguably [one of] the two most physically punishing players in the 2008 class," is a giant step towards filling out a roster of players for the 2008-09 season and beyond who can compete with any team in the nation.

This summer, Lynetta was selected by USA Basketball as one of the top 36 prep players in the country to compete in USA Basketball's Youth Development Festival at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

This is great news for Terps fans and, we expect, for Lynetta's family and friends as well, who will now be able to follow Lynetta's college career at one of the very best programs in the nation without having to drive too far from home . . . and with gas prices being what they are, that's BIG!

Photo Credit: Glenn Nelson (HoopGurlz)

Lang: "And the Best Thing about France and Russia is that neither country has an extradition treaty with the United States!"

In the latest "Dear Diary" entry from USA U21 Basketball, we learn that Coach Joanne P. (Bite me!) McCallie gave each player a homework assignment! And, no, the assignment wasn't to study the playbook. Instead, she assigned the players to research the food and culture of the regions they'll be visiting and report back to the rest of the team. Of course, every class has a teacher's pet . . . Courtney Paris wanted to know if she could "do a Power Point presentation"!

The mystery-authored Diary entries make for good reading, especially Days 3 & 4, which include Q & As with four of the players, including Maryland's own Laura Harper.

Photo Credit: USA Basketball

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Shay Watch. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, in this case, the live web cast of the Liberty's game last night in San Antonio, the BasketCases were fortunate to see Shay Doron score her first points as a professional -- a bomb of a three. (And how many times have we seen her do that before?!) Also, Shay finally got some real minutes last night. Unfortunately, the Libs lost to the Silver Stars, 79-71. (Those two facts are not related. Indeed, it appeared to us that Shay was open on the wing several times when her teammates failed to find her. Hopefully, they will learn!)

Despite the fact that Shay is spending most of her time on the bench, we're happy to report that she is still a favorite of the New York media. Here's one of the most recent stories. As one clever message board junkie has pointed out, Shay leads the WNBA in the ratio of minutes played to interview minutes granted.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Coulda Shoulda. The Mystics lost at home last night to the Sparks, 89-80. It was a game that the Mystics could have and should have won. The Sparks were missing three key starters, including two of the greatest players ever to step on a court -- Lisa Leslie (pregnant who had a baby Friday morning) and Chamique Holdsclaw (retired) -- and injured point guard Temeka Johnson (three players who combined for an average of 43 ppg last season!). Despite being so severely understaffed, the Sparks managed to out hustle, out rebound and find a way to beat a team that was playing at home with all its stars and starters. Last night's game was hardly an auspicious send-off for the Mystics as they prepare to head out for a long road trip.

This Mystics' 10th anniversary season isn't making much sense. And it certainly hasn't been much fun.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Lang and Harp (we still think that would make a great name for a British pub!) make the cut!

The USA Basketball U21 roster for the FIBA World Championships was finalized today. Maryland's Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper were selected for the 12-person team competing in Moscow beginning June 29th.

As MVP of the U19 FIBA World Championships held two summers ago, Crystal was an odds-on favorite to make the USA team. And, as the 2006 Final Four MVP, Laura's selection can hardly be considered a surprise, either.

Congratulations to Crystal and Laura! Turtle Nation is proud of you . . . and we have no doubt the USA will be too!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A BIG Hand for the Mystics!

The night after the Mystics' devastating loss at the Garden, the team regrouped at home and notched their first win of the season, beating the Phoenix Mercury 86-69. If ever a team -- and its fans -- needed a win, it was the Mystics, and finally they did not disappoint.

Mo Currie, acquired from the Sky in the trade for Chasity Melvin, wowed her home-town fans, leading the Mystics in scoring with 25 points. Mo showed an aggressiveness -- driving the lane time and again -- that got her to the foul line for a total of 14 tries . . . of which she made a phenomenal 13! Her former Duke teammate, Alana Beard, added 19 points, and our other home-girl, Nikki T, finished in double figures with 12 . . . all of her points coming from behind the 3 point arc (4 of 5!).

Before this evening, the Mercury was considered to be the team with the high-octane offense, but to the joy (not to mention, relief) of fans (including one very happy owner), the Mystics pulled a role reversal and shot a respectable 46% from the field and a remarkable 62% from long-distance.

That O'fer is history, and we're hoping the team can focus on another kind of record . . . this time piling up as many wins as they can to redeem the season.

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

0 and 8.

The Mystics traveled to New York tonight in search of their elusive first win of the season, and came up empty handed, losing to the Liberty, 79-69, in a nationally televised game that was truly painful to watch.

In fact, from the BasketCases' perspective, ESPN's nice feature on Shay Doron at halftime (complete with pix of her when she was a little girl) was the only thing that was the least bit enjoyable about having the TV on.

With their loss tonight, the Mystics are now in sole possession of the unwanted WNBA record for the second-worst start to a season.

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Tomorrow and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, Mystics vs Phoenix at the Phone Booth, 7 PM. Phoenix is leading the league in scoring, averaging a stunning 84 points per game, a figure the Mystics haven't reached once during the regular season.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Chamique Retires

Late today, the BasketCases' favorite WNBA player of all time, former Mystic Chamique Holdsclaw, announced her immediate retirement from basketball. It was an utter joy to watch Mique play, and will we miss her greatly.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Vote Early and Vote Often. Okay Mystics fans. Particularly since the Mystics are hosting this year's All Star Game, we need to stuff that ballot box and vote some of the Mystics onto the Eastern Conference All Star Team!

You can vote once a day online by going to, but you can also be far more effective by filling out the paper ballots available during Mystics games at the Verizon Center. That's because there is NO LIMIT to the number of paper ballots you are allowed to cast. Just be sure that you vote for players at all positions (two guards, two forwards, one center) and for players in both conferences . . . If you don't follow these simple rules, your ballot(s) will NOT be counted. (But you don't need to take time to fill out the box for the all-expense-paid trip to the All Star Game if you don't care to. Heck, what would they give us Washington-area fans anyway? A Metro Farecard??)

And, of course, be sure not to leave any hanging chads -- not if you want your vote(s) for your favorite Mystics players to count! The President of the WNBA is from FLORIDA . . . need we say more?

The voting deadline is June 24th, but if you are dropping ballots off with the Mystics, you need to do that by June 17th (so they have time to send them to the WNBA). That means you have two more Mystics home games (Wednesday vs Phoenix and Friday vs Los Angeles) at which to pick up and drop off your ballots. Take the BasketCases' advice and pick up a BIG stack this Wednesday, get all your friends and family to help you fill them out, and then drop them off on Friday!

We've already completed many hundreds of ballots (no joke!), and we're planning to complete hundreds more by the deadline. But we can't do it alone -- we need YOUR help! Let's see how many YOU can do! The BasketCases thank you for your support.

Friday, June 08, 2007

0 and 7. It was a tough loss for the Mystics at home tonight against Indy. This time, it wasn't the 4th quarter that was the problem for DC, but the first half, as the Mystics dug themselves a 12-point hole before the break (after being behind by as much as 18!). It's hard to come back from a deficit like that against a team as good as the Fever, but the Mystics didn't give up, and managed to tie the game in the last few minutes. Unfortunately, they never got over the hump, losing 74-69. Some positives tonight: the Mystics committed fewer turnovers and fouls, and rebounded better. What cost them the game was insufficient offense, including missing 14 of their first 15 shots. The BasketCases do want to give a shout out to Alana Beard, who is clearly playing in pain but still giving it her all, scoring 23 points tonight despite her sore shoulder.

The Mystics' 0-7 start ties the WNBA record for the second worst start to a season.

But the Good News is: We just saved a lot of money on our car insurance Mystics Refrigerator Magnets were delivered today!! We picked ours up at half time at Guest Services, and now it's proudly displayed on our fridge. (Okay, we're taking our good news where we can find it.)

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Fennelly Hired Frese. Frese Hires Fennelly. That would be Billy . . . not Bill.

The Terps announced today that the newest, and reportedly the last, addition to Coach B's staff is none other than Billy Fennelly, son of Iowa State's head coach, Bill Fennelly. Coach B is well aquainted with the Fennelly clan. Brenda was hired in 1996 by Bill to be Recruiting Coordinator for the Cyclones. Brenda's tremendous success recruiting for ISU no doubt helped launch her head coaching career. Now Bill's son, Billy, has been hired by Brenda as an assistant to the Recruiting Coordinator. Billy replaces Becky Bonner, who left Maryland to become Director of Basketball Operations for Louisville's new head coach (and former Maryland Associate head coach) Jeff Walz.

Billy is a recent graduate of Iowa State and though not quite the eye candy that Rhet is, is still pretty cute in that corn-fed Midwestern kind of way brings exceptional experience to his new position, having worked 3 years as student manager of the Cyclones' women's basketball team, as well working summers at various basketball camps.

Welcome to Billy Fennelly and all the new additions to Terrapin Nation!

Photo Credit: University of Maryland

Divas at the Gala

Original Divas, Tamara and Nikki B

Hmmm, looks like the Divas succeeded in making over one of their teammates!

For a full report on Tuesday's Mystics Foundation Gala, check out these pictures from the Mystics webpage and read all about it on Dan Steinberg's Washington Post Sports Bog.

Photo Credits: Washington Mystics

Monday, June 04, 2007

A Blast from OF the Past

Yesterday a little bit of Mystics past went up in smoke (literally) when the Charlotte Coliseum (aka The Hive) was imploded and reduced to rubble. While it saddens the BasketCases that the site of what may be the greatest moment in Mystics history (to date) no longer has a physical presence, the demolition served to remind us of that incredible day, the memories of which will live on. This being the franchise's 10th anniversary, perhaps it's fitting that we retell the story of Victory in Charlotte!

First, here's the video of the demolition: We've seen more impressive implosions on tv, but none has moved us quite like watching this one . . . because this building held some happy memories.

It was August 2002 (so we weren't under the odd year curse!). The Mystics were the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. We were playing the number #1 Charlotte Sting. The 3-game series opened at the MCI Center, with the next two games (if necessary) to be played in Charlotte. The Mystics stole the first win at home, in large part due to the huge turnout and loud and enthusiastic support of their fans. Next stop . . . The Hive!

Pat Summitt, son Tyler and husband R.B. (who, to the best of our knowledge has never bitten a policeman) gather with Mystics fans outside the Coliseum prior to tip-off

The BasketCases drove to Charlotte the night before and got to the arena early. We were pleasantly suprised to find many Mystics fans already gathered outside The Hive. As we mingled and waited, more Mystics fans arrived! . . . and then more Mystics fans arrived! . . . and then even more Mystics fans arrived! Sting fans kept staring at this veritable sea of Mystics blue and bronze, no doubt wondering where all these people had come from. And, this was not a team-organized roadtrip; this was individual fans piling into cars and vans, or catching last-minute flights in order to be there to support their team. Many drove the 6 hours on the morning of the game, with a 6-hour return trip waiting for them afterwards. But was it ever worth it!

The section behind the Mystics bench was already packed with fans before the game.

Murriel Page told us later that when she and her teammates came out of the locker room and saw all their fans, they knew they were going to win! Other sections had plenty of Mystics fans as well. There were hundreds of us there, and many of us thought to bring our own bangers (BYOB!), while Mystics staff handed out more bangers to the fans before the game. The Sting's fans, meanwhile, received rally towels -- noise advantage: Mystics! ESPN commentator and former WNBA coach Carolyn Peck said on the air that we were so loud, you'd think this game was being played in Washington!

Stacey Dales-Schuman, Annie Burgess, Chamique, Vicky Bullett and others huddling with Coach Marianne Stanley

It was a tight game throughout, every possession was critical. Lots of nails were bitten that day!

Victory in Charlotte!

The game came down to the final possession . . . and the narrowest of margins, but the Mystics prevailed! Number 4 completed the sweep of Number 1 . . . and the Mystics advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first (and to date, only) time in their history!

Coco, Annie and Stacey thank the fans and sign autographs before boarding the bus.
The Mystics fans didn't want the excitement to end and were reluctant to leave the building after the game. Finally the lights were turned down and guards ushered the remaining fans outside. Even then, no one was rushing for their cars . . . we all had the same idea . . . let's find the team bus! The guards wouldn't let the fans get close to the loading area, but when Coach Stanley stepped outside and saw us pressed up against the barriers or stacked 4 rows deep on the walkway above, trying to catch a glimpse of the team, she waded into the crowd and many of the team's players followed her lead.

Coco bids farewell to her sister (and defeated Sting opponent) Kelly and their Dad.

Of course, the day wouldn't be complete without a crying Miller twin . . . this time it was Kelly shedding the tears. Meanwhile, there were more than a few tears of joy shed by Mystics fans. And that 6-hour drive home . . . well, that just had to be the shortest 6-hour drive of our lives! Six hours of happily reliving every moment of our 3 hours at the now-no-longer Charlotte Coliseum.

Photo Credits: Imploding Coliseum - Charlotte; Victory in Charlotte -; all other photos - DC BasketCases

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We would be remiss if we did not mention some of the players from the old Charlotte Sting who played some great basketball in the Coliseum -- The Hive was home to such WNBA stars as the legendary Dawn Staley, our own Vicky Bullett, Andrea Stinson, Charlotte Smith, Tammy Sutton Brown, Alison Feaster, Crying Kelly Miller . . . and more!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

0 and 6 . . . Although the Mystics lost to the Fever tonight in Indy, 70-66, they did make a game of it. Despite failing to take advantage of the Fever's early shooting troubles, the Mystics did not give up, they played tough down the stretch, and they had a chance to win. The critical shots simply did not fall their way. Diva Tamara James had a career night, leading the Mystics with 17 points, 5 steals, 4 assists, and only 1 turnover. Here's hoping that the Mystics use their four-day layoff to regroup and even up the series with Indy when the two teams meet again on Friday at the Phone Booth.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Survivor Washington

[Note: If you are following the link from womenshoops to this site, the BasketCases would like to remind you that Clay Kallam, who is now blaming Linda Hargrove for all the Mystics' woes, is the very same Clay Kallam who condemned Maryland Coach Brenda Frese for alleged recruiting violations, only to later issue a retraction and an apology.

While no one is perfect, and that includes the BasketCases, Linda Hargrove, Richie Adubato, and obviously Clay Kallam, these Mystics fans think his attack on Linda is over the top.]

Previously on Survivor . . . Last week, each tribe had to select one of its players to send to another tribe. The Sky Tribe sent Monique Currie, a talented but still young and relatively inexperienced player, over to the Styx Tribe, while the Styx got rid of their starting center, Chasity Melvin. The Styx's selection was made by Tribal Leader Linda Hargrove, reportedly without the involvement of Tribal Floor General Richie "Mr. Tomato Head" Adubato.

Shortly thereafter, the league held the next reward challenge, in which the Styx Tribe lost to the Shock Tribe, thereby falling to 0 and 4 in reward challenges . . . meaning that the Styx Tribe was still playing without fire. This apparently prompted Styx veteran Crystal Robinson to abandon the game althogether.

Meanwhile, Styx Tribal Floor General Adubato was apparently so upset at losing two veterans that he just up and sent himself to Exile Island (permanently!) the morning of the Styx's upcoming reward challenge against the Sky. The Styx Tribe tried to rally around the Big Tree in its home camp, but later that evening, in the next reward challenge, the deflated Styx Tribe looked to be in disarray -- they forgot basketball fundamentals, including boxing out, rebounding, shooting, and taking care of the ball. As a consequence, they lost their fifth straight reward challenge, this one to the Sky, and are still playing without fire.

Tune in next week and see Who Will Be the Next to Be Voted Off the Island Hardwood?

Friday, June 01, 2007

0 and 5. 'Nuff said.

Draft Pokey.

Coach Richie Adubato Resigns!!!

Shortly before 4 PM today, the Mystics released a statement announcing the resignation of head coach Richie Adubato.

Tree Rollins will take over as the interim head coach.