Thursday, June 25, 2009

Not Quite

The WNBA's highest scoring team, the Phoenix Mercury, were just a bit too much for the short-handed Mystics tonight, as Washington lost at home for the first time this season, 87-93.

Once again, the Mystics dug themselves an early hole. In fact, at the end of the first period, with the Merc ahead 26-13, it looked as though the game might turn into a blowout. But this is a Mystics team that simply does not give up. So although the home team was still down at the break, 51-42, they fought their way back in the second half, once, twice, three times . . . even taking the lead at one point, by one point. Unfortunately, the fierce effort was not quite enough.

It wasn't just the Mercury's predictably hot shooting that doomed the Mystics. Unfortunately, Washington let this one slip away with too many missed layups (particularly by our two starting post players). And don't get us started on the free throws! The Mystics hit only 17-29 from the line (under 60%), while the Mercury hit nearly 80% (15-19). It doesn't take a CPA to do the math . . . a 6 pt loss and 12 missed FTs! Ouch!

To give credit where credit is due, the Merc's incredibly talented shooters (including Cappie Pondexter, who had a game high 24 points, and Diana Taurasi, who put up 23), all hit shots when needed (especially at the FT line) and helped their team hold on for a narrow victory.

Once again, Alana Beard led the Mystics in scoring (21 points). And once again, Crystal Langhorne (the BasketCases' nominee for Most Improved Player) turned in another strong performance off the bench, posting her second double-double of the season (16 points and 12 boards). Three other players reached double figures, including Lindsey Harding, who played nearly the entire game, and barely missed a double-double of her own --finishing with 12 points and 9 assists. Nakia Sanford and Monique Currie had 13 and 10 points, respectively -- each getting most of her points from the free throw line.

There's no question that this team is really missing Marissa Coleman's offense. (Right now, Alana is the Mystics' only serious 3-point threat.) Still, it was an extremely exciting game, particularly in the second half. Despite the fact that the Mystics didn't come away with the "W," at least the fans saw a team -- even when not executing as they should -- that never quit and never stopped making the effort.

Washington now heads out on a 4-game road trip, the first a rematch with the Sky in Chicago on Saturday night. This trip presents another real challenge to the young Mystics team. Particularly after tonight's loss, winning on the road is a must if they wish to maintain their early-season momentum. The next time we'll see the team at the Phone Booth will be July 11th. Too long! Thank goodness for Live Access.


At 12:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now if we could only get some consistently in the post - from our 2 starters. Sanford and Melvin combined for 4 rebounds in the 1st half (pretty AWFUL!) Why do we continue to put up with this inconsistent post play?!?!?!?

At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How long can this team go with only playing seven players? I see this as the real problem. If your not going to play Blue, Mann and Humprey, then go get players that you can play. Thsi seven man rotation is enough to kill any team!

At 7:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, we could have won the game at the free throw line. It is time to make Langhorne a starting post player.The number of shorts Currie took was disappointing.
I gave the Mystics credit for not quitting.
Good luck on the road trip.

At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Stewart said...

As the last poster said, I think Lang has earned a starting job. She now leads the league in rebounding (8.5 a game) and played more minutes that Chas last night. While it is nice to know that the Mystics are never out of a game, we can't keep waiting until we're down 15 points then decide to turn in on. And, BC, you're right. We lost the game at the free throw line. Credit, indeed, goes to the Mercury. I couldn't believe how fast they were!

At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Coach Plank,

What does it take to get Lang in the starting lineup? As much as I love her, sometimes watching Kia is just painful!

At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Stevo Or Supe said...

Let's see, where do I start...Oh yeah.. Can't blame the officials on this one. They gave us the opportunity by making free throws...The're free, the clock is stopped!!!! WE MUST FOCUS and make free throws. I'm not even going to touch the missed layups. The upside is: Crystal's outstanding play, and Lindsey has found her swing..I mean shot.

At 11:43 AM, Anonymous Tee said...

My problem is with the starting post players as well. They cannot finish! They are right at the basket. It doesn't matter the move or lack there must finish. Do ya'll recall the possession when Chas tipped the ball to herself once, twice, three times, and we come away with nothing.

And once again....LANG...what can I say? I agree, she is the front runner for most improved. AND TOUGH!!! She even threw an elbow, fighting for a board! YES!!!

And I agree with a previous poster...if you aren't gonna play Blue or Mann (and believe me...I'm not a huge Blue fan)....lets get someone that can contribute. Hey...what's Swoopes doing? Ha Ha!

At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a time when the Mystics would have folded and quietly gone away after being down. I love watching this team compete!! Langhorne is amazing! In terms of missing free throws and lay ups - agony. A friend of mine told his basketball-playing high school daughter "to put her hand in the basket on free throws." In other words, follow through! Don't know if that would have helped last night.

At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

let's not deal Humphrey too fast. Lang got minimal minutes last year and is showing true colors this year with significant minutes.

Mann is recoverig from strep. tough break GM could not predict when they resigned her.

My 2 cents:
Sanford should start at 5 with Lang at 4. Melvin is not what we hoped for, but should except sub role.

i want Coleman back in rotation as soon as possible, but let her heal. long term vision on this one.

hate to say it because she is a wonderful person.... but, If Blue doesn't get 4 mpg, then they should get another pg.

Yes, charity stripe must improve. can't leave those points off the scoreboard and win. Nakia's shot from line was much flatter last night. ...although unconventional cange as more arc is typically better, she had somewhat better results. guessing someone is working on this with her.

yes, phoenix is fast... but we matched them. Do this against atlanta and we outrun them (old knees Teasley will be left in dust).

5 game road trip is tough. win 3-4 would be great sign.

At 5:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad that Lang's getting to show off what those of us who watched her at Maryland knew: she's a beast! Loved seeing her have another great game. She's getting it done.

I'm also really loving Harding.

At 6:34 PM, Blogger BlogforHealth said...

I say we go out and pick up Ivory Latta. We are definitely missing that depth at the guard position. I do like Nikki Blue work ethic, but it doesn't always translate on the court. Plus Latta is a scoring threat and could run the point. The more ACC players the better...

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little OT, but what happened to the BCs "Bunny" rating for game experience?

At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank goodness Rollins is no longer the coach...CLang would still be languishing on the bench. Time for Langhorne to start and when Riss returns, she should be starting as well.


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