Same Old, Same Old?
After reading the game stories in this morning's Washington Post and Washington Times, the BasketCases wonder whether we were at the same game (see our post below) that Katie Carrera
and Mike Fratto
saw. Both have written fairly negative reports, along the line of "same old Mystics." In fact, Katie's story
is headlined "In a Month, Mystics Haven't Changed Much." Mike's article
says that "all the improvements the Mystics showed in practice went missing." Frankly, the BasketCases think both reporters are being a little too hard on the team.
Perhaps they were influenced by their post-game interviews of the players and Coach J-Law, who, not surprisingly, were extremely disappointed with their performance, and, no doubt, kicking themselves for losing a "must-win" game. With only 8 games in this post-Olympic part of the season (including 2 against Detroit and 1 against conference-leading Connecticut), every game is critical to the Mystics' playoff hopes. Losing last night was a real set-back. So the reporters came away from the press conference with plenty of "negative" quotes.
The fact that the coach and the team are so upset in a way pleases us as fans. Not that we wish them to be unhappy. But as the people who pay money and take the time and trouble to see them play, we don't want to ever see them give up, get complacent, be satisfied with just getting close or make excuses for losing. But as fans, we have a different perspective (our paychecks and careers don't depend on where the team finishes), and from our perspective, we thought the new-look Mystics showed some promise.
We confess: since the team had traded Taj (our most productive pre-Olympic player and the clear team leader), we didn't arrive at last night's game with particularly high expectations. So maybe, since we had set the bar low, we (unlike the team) weren't as disappointed. But even taking that into account, we still believe there were bright spots to last night's game.
The Mystics scored an above-average 75 points (without their starting PG). They were consistent across the four quarters (recording 18, 18, 19, and 20 points, respectively). They had four players in double figures (how often this season has that happened?). They outrebounded Big Syl, Chas and the rest of the Sky, 38-35. Fifteen of their 25 FGs were assisted baskets. And the Mystics, who up to now have been the worst free-throw shooting team in the league, hit over 80% from the line!
Are we ready to say that all is well in Mysticsland? Of course not. Turnovers were still very much a problem last night. The Mystics defense was much too porous. Their FG percentage was definitely below where it should be. And, as everyone already knows, the PG situation is problematic. So, yes, there are some very significant problems with the team that need to be addressed in the remaining 7 games and particularly in the off-season. But Coach J-Law can only work with the roster she has. And we think that the team she put on the floor last night (except for that line-up when she substituted Crystal Smith and Laurie Koehn for AB and Mo! Not pretty!), showed some signs of life and was not, as the reporters characterized them, just the same old, same old Mystics.
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No Web Cast
Contrary to information that had previously been given out about tonight's game at Minny, it now appears that the game will not be web cast. It seems the best we can do is listen live on WNBA.com (which means we can look forward to more of Frank Hanrahan's annoying use of the phrase "woman to woman" defense).