We Needed That!
For the third game in a row, the Mystics spent most of the second half playing against their opponent's bench. But today, it was because the Mystics had put the game out of reach by early in the third quarter.
Yes, that's right, the Mystics came out of the blocks on fire this afternoon, and by halftime were ahead of Western-Conference leading Seattle by a score of 48-25. Seattle was unable to mount any early second half run, so they conceded the win to the Mystics, which meant that for most of the final 20 minutes, superstar starters Sue Bird, Sheryl Swoopes, Swin Cash, and Yolanda Griffith were parked safely on the visitor's bench. The final score of this Mystics rout was 89-57.
The victory by the Mystics snapped the Storm's 7-game winning streak. But most important, it started new Interim Head Coach Jessie Kenlaw off on the right foot (1-0) and provided a hugely needed emotional boost for the Mystics, their fans, and their owner. As the final buzzer sounded, Sheila Johnson ran onto the court to embrace Coach Kenlaw in a joyous hug.
The BasketCases found it particularly gratifying that Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who battled so hard in the recent losing efforts, today was the "star" of this oh-so-satisfying victory. Alana Beard scored the game's first bucket, but Taj took over from there to lead all scorers with 22 points. She hit early and often, helping the Mystics build that 23-point cushion they took into the locker room at halftime. But Taj's big game wasn't a solo effort. Alana, who's been troubled by turnovers this season, recorded a game high 9 assists vs only 1 turnover! And Taj was on the receiving end of quite of few of Alana's dishes. While AB didn't hit double figures (Mo Currie with 12 points was the only other Mystics player besides Taj who did), she certainly contributed significantly to the winning effort. Seven Mystics scored 8 or more points; turnovers were down; assists were up. This was a team victory . . . make no mistake about it.
The Mystics' next game is the annual "Camp Day" game at the Phone Booth this Wednesday at 11:30 AM against New York. Obviously, we're all hoping that Washington can carry today's energy, focus -- and teamwork -- into Wednesday's game and forward into the remainder of the season. For now, however, we are just feeling very good about today.