Thursday, May 28, 2009

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?!


At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said in all aspects. I was particularly impressed with Matee...very quick, defensively aggressive, good shooter, finishes layups after great steals. Crystal looks like a completely different player...confident and strong (while being totally molested under the boards). Do you know the rebound stats for both teams?

Long suffering and hopeful in B-100.

At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have your seats been permanently moved with that strange addition at the visitor end?

At 8:05 PM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Dear Anonymous,

After 11 years of spreading our positive aura over the Visitor's Bench, the BasketCases (voluntarily) decided it was time to pack up and move our good karma to the Mystics end of the floor.

So far, it seems to be working. :-)


At 7:25 AM, Anonymous Stewart said...

Ajavon, Harding and 'Rissa definitely stood out to me. And Ajavon seems like a real find. Yes, some exciting times are definitely coming and I feel this is a team that will compete.

Oh, and in a side note, Dr. Johnson gave me a clean bill of health and I'm back at work today. Must have been a 24-hour thing or something.

At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Stevo said...

Well done Stewart....You took the words right out of my mouth... I must have had that 24-hour thing also. OUTSTANDING BASKETBALL....More to come

At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exciting game to watch. Our post players better be ready to catch and shoot at all times, because the ball can be zippped in there!! Matee and Marissa were attacking the basket consistently. And I was thrilled with actual, aggressive, hands moving, feet moving, talking to each other defense. Monique stayed in attack mode the entire time. Keeping hope alive!!

Section 112, cc checking in!

At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

have you seen that Daron Park has gone to be an assistant coach at La Tech with T-Spoon?? Why's everyone jumping ship at UMD??

At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen who Coach B is hiring? It is REALLY exciting!!!!

At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the new hire...

At 8:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was interesting to hear Coach's postgame comments about how she was happy with our trips to the free throw line vs limiting the Liberty's trips to the free throw line. I like her aggressive stance on both offense and defense, and everyone seemed to hustle just a bit more.

Of course, they're all fighting for a roster spot. It's going to be a tough cut to make.


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