Yes, tonight was "Ladies Night" at the Phone Booth, with the first 3,000 fans receiving carnations. However, for the Mystics' "ladies," it was not their night, as they fell to the visiting Chicago Sky, 75-79.
The game was close and exciting throughout (10 lead changes and 10 ties!) and it wasn't decided until the final moments. Though the Mystics weren't able to pull out the win, we must say they played with plenty of energy and maintained their focus for all 40 minutes . . . something refreshing to see. While it's only one game, we're encouraged that Coach J-Law's work with the team over the Olympic break appears to have had a positive impact. Now if she can only get them back in the win column. Hopefully as soon as tomorrow night. Following tonight's game, there's no rest for the Mystics, as they must immediately travel out to Minneapolis, where they play the Lynx tomorrow (Saturday) at 8 PM EDT.
But returning to tonight's game: four Mystics finished in double figures, including newcomer Tasha Humphrey, who had 11 points plus 9 rebounds. A good Washington debut! Alana led the Mystics with 18 points, Mo added 16, and the tireless Coco Miller (who returned to the starting line-up tonight) had 12. Chicago's Olympic Gold Medalist, Sylvia Fowles, put up 20 points and added 13 rebounds and 5 blocked shots, including one monster block that sent the ball flying into the stands. Big Syl's teammate, Jia Perkins, led all scorers with 28.
With the Sky's win yesterday over the Liberty, and their victory tonight, Chicago is now deadlocked with the Mystics for 5th place in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, this means the Mystics not only need to catch and pass the Fever in order to secure the final playoff berth, but they also have to hold off Chicago in the process. With tonight's loss, Washington missed the opportunity to lock up the tie-break over the Sky, who they face for the final time this regular season on September 9th.
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The President was in the house!
No, not that President. Although the President of the United States lives only 9 blocks from the Verizon Center, in the 11 years that the Mystics have existed, neither occupant of the White House has ever been to a game. Bipartisan neglect! Tonight, however, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, the President of Tanzania, was in the stands. As far as we know, he may be the first Head of State ever to attend a Mystics game. Which makes him the clear favorite for the BasketCases' post-season award for "Head of State who has traveled the farthest to see a Mystics game." Congratulations, President Kikwete!