Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Home Opener. The Mystics held their annual block party outside the Verizon Center just before the start of today's game against the Houston Comets. The weather was sunny, mid-70s . . . absolutely perfect!

Owner Sheila Johnson was on hand to introduce the team.

Fans were invited to make their own posters. This young man was hard at work . . . and his poster is looking good!

The ubiquitous oversized WNBA ball that makes an appearance each season.

How many people do you know who can say they graduated from college on the court in a pregame ceremony? Well, Mystics rookie Krystal Vaughn did exactly that today! Krystal is the first member of her family to graduate from college. The Mystics' schedule prevented her from attending her graduation ceremony at Virginia Commonwealth University, so VCU sent a little of her commencement to the Phone Booth. VCU Head Coach (and former Mystic!) Beth Cunningham presented Krystal with her diploma prior to the game. Another Mystics rookie -- Crystal Langhorne -- also graduated this week, but she managed to make it to her graduation ceremony Friday morning at Maryland. Dr. J and Mystics COO Greg Bibb presented both new graduates with flowers today to help celebrate this important milestone. Both Krystal and Crystal then went on to give the team excellent minutes off the bench . . .

As for the game, today's matchup was between two winless teams, each hungry for a victory. Happily for the Mystics and their fans, the Comets were sent back to Houston still winless, as the Mystics recorded their first win of the season, 69-66. While the result was better for the Mystics than it was in the first two games, Houston is not one of the league's better teams, yet the Mystics still struggled to eke out the win. The Mystics' offense continued to sputter. If the team is going to be successful this season, the Mystics (in our opinion) need more consistent offense from their starters. Today, at halftime, the Mystics' reserves had outcored the starters, 18-12. By the end of the game, the starters had contributed only one point more than the bench had, 35-34, despite the fact that the starters were on the floor for 137 minutes to the reserves' 63.

Alana Beard led the Mystics with 16 points (the only starter in double figures). Off the bench, Laurie Koehn finished with 12, hitting 4 of her 6 three-point attempts, while Coco Miller put up 10 points, including 3 critical buckets late in the 4th quater. Another bench player who made the most of her minutes today was new Terp graduate Crystal Langhorne. Lang played played 10 minutes and was a perfect 4 of 4 from the floor (including a couple of scores while being defended by the Comets' perennial All-Star Tina Thompson). While it wasn't the prettiest, it was still a win, and now the Mystics have a chance to even their record when the WNBA's newest team, the Atlanta Dream, makes its first ever appearance at the Phone Booth on Tuesday at 7 PM. Which brings us to . . .

The Charm Factor.


The BasketCases give a major shout-out to the Mystics' front office, who clearly went all out for the home opener. Magnetic schedules, light-up bangers (helping to create a great visual during introductions), lasers, a few pyrotechnics, Andre Pitre singing the National Anthem (great voice, on-key), the Ballou High School Marching Band, plus a good deal of hoopla and energy during the time outs! We thought, "Wow, we're definitely headed for a Five Bunny Night!" But alas . . . it was not to be. Just when the in-arena experience was moving along so swimmingly, we spotted this (and thought "OMG!") . . .

Meet "Lucky," the new sidekick to the Mystics' mascot, Pax. What is he? Well, we think he's supposed to be a Blue Rabbit. (Poor Charm must be rolling over in his grave . . . or in his stewpot as the case may be.) Isn't Lucky simply the ugliest looking thing you've ever seen? We're sorry, but we just had to take an automatic half-bunny deduction! Then (standing at 4-1/2 bunnies), halftime came and . . .

The entertainment was provided by simply the best worst Tina Turner impersonator ever, a performer named Cookie Watkins. She could hardly carry a tune. For the most part, we and many others in the audience simply stared at her in disbelief. In a way, she was so bad, it was almost entertaining -- in that Gong Show sort of way. Anyway, we had to assess another half-bunny deduction. So today's Charm Factor:

Four Bunnies! Not perfect, but still a very good start to the season!

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases

15 Comments:

At 9:46 PM, Blogger Tonya said...

I couldn't even look at the court when "Tina" was performing. Awkward.

I loved the energy and enthusiasm off the bench, though. Lang definitely showed what she's capable of. Mo was still MIA...

 
At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so it's Charm inside that bunny suit, isn't it?

 
At 10:08 PM, Anonymous BetsyinDC said...

Good call, BCases, on the Four Bunny Night!

(1) Lucky = scary scary bunny. Make it stop.

(2) Faux Tina...she gave it her all, which is more than you can say for a few of the Mystics. When I saw in the liner notes that halftime was a Tina impersonator, I hoped it would be a drag queen, but no such luck.

(3) With so many seats in the end zone, why was the best marching band in DC up in the rafters? Let them sit where we can see/hear them!!

(4) Still lovin that HD scoreboard, but why can't they keep the score updated? And why no game clock up there?

Hope they can build some momentum and beat the Dream on Tuesday night!

 
At 10:11 PM, Blogger posting-up said...

OMG! I want to know who designed "Lucky," and more than that WHO APPROVED IT?! He's hideous! Remember when people complained that Charm looked scary? This guy make Charm look downright cuddly (I always kinda liked Charm, though).

Note to Sheila: LOVED the Ballou Band! I think we should have a marching band at all the games - great spirit and music -- but seat them in one of the "end zones" and make them more a part of the game.

Langhorne looked great tonight. Hope Tree puts everyone at the charity stripe this week, and makes them make 100 free throws.

 
At 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never thought I'd say this, but I really miss Charm.

 
At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mystics put Crystal Smith on Suspended. Nikki is out for 4 weeks. What are we doing for a point guard? How about Rita Williams?

 
At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My observation is that although we lose some scoring with Alana when she is running the point, we also gain a real floor leader. We had some good scoring from our bench yesterday. If we can get that consistently, Alana might be our best option at PG. She is vocal and directs the players so well. Nikki doesn't do any of that.
On another note, Krystal has impressed me. She made a few mistakes but she is relentless. Nothing like Mo who has passed on so many opportunities to score yesterday. Was she scared to take Dixon one-on-one? I say give Krystal a chance and see is Mo gets more fire from the bench.

 
At 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

for betsyindc -- there is a game clock on the megalajumbotron, right in the top center. It was not working lats night, I believe another symptom of the same problem that was causing the delay in updating the score. They were working on it before the game, and apparently could not get it fixed.

 
At 3:58 PM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Who thought it was a good idea to put Charm on steroids?!

 
At 6:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is Charm inside Lucky's suit. Will someone ask Linda Hargrove? We miss Charm, too.

 
At 6:07 PM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Lucky is no Charm. That's not him in there. . .

-- BC

 
At 6:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only problem with AB at pg is that she becomes a 2 guard playing a pg who is looks for her shot FIRST, and her teammates SECOND! So I don't really care for her at pg. I'd like to see her actually look for/to her teammates when she's playing the 2... which I guess takes me back to my first point--- she'll be a 2 playing a pg who looks for her shot FIRST.

 
At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well it was announced that Amber Jacobs will start at the point tomorrow. We will have to see if it works out.

 
At 12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amber seems like a likeable person, but her three-game numbers are zero assists, six turnovers and three points. Actually, that's one more pint than Blue.

Alana is better at the two-guard, but with the team's situation what it currently is putting her at the point might be the best option. Plenty of teams have succeeded with scoring (not to say selfish) point guards.

C&OSpence

 
At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the band. My opinion is that up there is a perfect place for them. Thankfully they were not as loud as the the DJ nor the roving "Mic" guy. Seriously they need to tone the volume down. You can't have any coversation with those around you. But what went totally unnoticed was that sitting in front of the bank in section 204 was Brenda Frese and her husband enjoying the game.

 

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