In their second outing under Interim Head Coach Jessie Kenlaw, the Mystics played a very different basketball game today at the Camp Day matinee than they did in Madison Square Garden last Thursday evening. Unfortunately, the result was the same, as the Mystics fell to the New York Liberty, 80-73.
The difference today was that Washington played some good, competitive, team basketball. In fact, four Mystics scored in double figures: Taj McWilliams-Franklin (who led all scorers with 19 points), Nakia Sanford, who had a double double (14 points, 10 boards), Alana Beard (16), and Monique Currie (14). In terms of competitiveness, today's lunch-hour event was 180-degrees different from the teams' prior meeting.
The effort was there; the coaching was there; but sadly, so was the Mystics' chronicly poor free throw shooting (they made only 6 of 13) and their low percentage from behind the arc (21.4%). By contrast, New York hit 14 of their 18 free throws and connected on 43.5% of their three-pointers. Game, set, match.
The loss today drops the Mystics to 9-15, and with 10 games remaining eliminates the possibility of what would have been a franchise-first 20-win season. Indeed, with their pre-Coach J-Law start to the season, the Mystics are once again flirting with a losing record. We hope that will not be the outcome, but winning 8 of the remaining 10 is a big order to fill.
Next up for the Mystics is a road trip, as they travel to Atlanta on Friday to take on the expansion Dream at 7:30 PM. They then return to the Phone Booth on Sunday for a 4 PM game against the Sun, their last game before the WNBA's month-long break for the Olympics.
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The Charm Factor: Four Bunnies. Today was the team's annual Camp Day, which means that the arena was filled with thousands of color-coded screaming kids, all the way up to the rafters. (For us old timers, it was nice to see people in the 400 section.) And perhaps because someone thought that the kids would not make enough noise by themselves, Mystics Megaphones were distributed at the door. The kids were also given colored light sticks, which made for a nice visual during the team introductions.
The Anthem was decently performed by Leann Madtes, and the halftime entertainment was provided by one of the BasketCases' favorites -- Skyy Dogs. We thought it was very nice that the front office went all out on professional entertainment for Camp Day. The kids -- and us old-timers -- certainly enjoyed it. Let's hope we see more of the same during regular games when the majority of paying season ticketholders are able to attend.