If you've been a Mystics fan for as long as the BasketCases have, no doubt you've ridden the rollercoaster that begins with early-season excitement, expectation, hope -- followed by plunges into disappointment and sometimes even despair -- far too many times.
So it's with some trepidation that we provide the following eyewitness report of today's pre-season Mystics vs Liberty game: "Wow!"
Alright, we know that those of you (like one of us) who couldn't get away from work or school today for the 11:30 AM tip-off are probably expecting a little bit more, so here it is:
From the moment the ref tossed the ball in the air until the clock expired after 40 minutes, the Mystics competed. They pushed tempo (our new PG Lindsey Harding is fast!); they played aggressive man-to-man defense; they contested rebounds and loose balls; they made the Liberty work hard to get their points. The Mystics played with an intensity on both ends of the floor that was exciting to watch!
Oh, and by the way, the Mystics won 74-56
. Frankly, it wasn't the "W" or the score that was so striking, though we were very pleased with both. (Remember, it is
pre-season. Players are still auditioning for roster spots or starting roles; minutes are spread and match-ups are different than they will be during the regular season.) What was striking was the effort the team as a whole
brought to today's contest.
Nevertheless, there were some fine individual performances: Newbie Matee Ajavon
, starting at SG in place of the still-resting Alana Beard
, led the team
with a game-high 17 pts, plus 4 steals and 3 assists. Our two small forwards, starter Mo Currie
(13 pts) and rookie Marissa Coleman
(12 pts) also finished in double figures. Rissa
and Crystal Langhorne
tied for game-high rebounds with 6 apiece.
But this win was really about the team. Coach Plank (earning her first win ever as a head coach, congratulations!) had the team conditioned, prepared and playing with what appeared to be excellent chemistry. On the sidelines, she was active, positive in her demeanor and seemingly engaged with the players. To a casual observer, it looked like the players were listening intently and soaking up what Coach P was telling them. A very good sign!
Of course, as long-time rollercoaster riders, we know only too well that one pre-season game does not a season make. Not by a long shot. But after getting our first peek at the Old, New, Borrowed and still Blue Mystics, we have to say that the team we watched this afternoon, looked -- and competed -- like a different team than the one that wore Blue and White last season. Considering how 2008 turned out, "different" is definitely a good thing! Wow, today's game was actually fun! How different is that?!