Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Too Much Excitement!

We were expecting a tough and exciting game this evening. But frankly, we could've done with a little less last-second-drama!

Thank goodness for Mystics fans, though, all the nail-biting and breath-holding was worth it as Washington ended the Silver Stars' 3-game home win streak tonight, 84-82, and ended their own 2-game losing skid. This was a tense game that literally came down to the final seconds and the final possession.

The game began as a relatively sloppy affair, with both teams committing 7 turnovers in the first quarter. San Antonio was up 19-15 at the end of that period. But in the second 10 minutes, the Mystics took much better care of the basketball (only a single TO in that quarter) and battled back to take a 39-33 lead into the locker room at halftime.

After the break, the Mystics continued to build on their lead and were up by 12 points with about 3 minutes left in the third. But more turnovers and missed opportunities by Washington allowed San Antonio to trim the lead to 3 points by the end of that period. To make matters worse, Alana Beard was called for her 5th foul with 1.2 seconds left in the quarter. Uh-oh!

Despite Alana's troubles, this Mystics team -- as they've demonstrated several times already this season -- found a way to regroup and stay in the game. In the final period, the Mystics slowly began adding to their lead. But the game was hardly over. Anyone who follows the WNBA knows that Becky Hammon is one of the (if not the) most prolific 4th period scorers in the League. Teams can contain her for 30 minutes, but look out in that final 10! And sure enough, Becky exploded, scoring 11 (of her 18) points in the final period, including a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left in the game that tied the score at 82. Uh-oh!

With 8.4 seconds remaining and in possession of the ball, the Mystics called a time out. While Coach Plank and her players strategized, we bit our nails. When play resumed we held our breath, waiting for the San Antonio announcer to describe the final seconds of regulation. 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 . . . at last, with 1.9 seconds left, Alana Beard shoots and scores! AB played the last 8-1/2 minutes with 5 fouls . . . and was there at the end with the ball in her hands when we needed her most. Of course, the excitement didn't end there. The Silver Stars still had time for one more shot, but fortunately Belinda Snell missed her attempt at a 3, and the Mystics held on for the win. WHEW!!!

The Mystics' backcourt was instrumental in tonight's victory. AB and Lindsey Harding each had 19 points (sharing the team high), while Matee Ajavon and Crystal Langhorne came off the bench and added 15 and 13 points, respectively. As for our starting post players, Nakia Sanford had a somewhat better outing, finishing with 8 points. But Chas continued to struggle, scoring only 1 point in the game, a free throw with 4:34 left in the final period. On a very positive note, though, the Mystics outrebounded San Antonio, despite the Silver Stars' significant height advantage.

We really wish we could have seen this game, particularly the thrilling fourth quarter. It's just not as much fun to listen to an audio broadcast, especially when the announcers are fairly dull. Whatever happened to Frank Hanrahan, who was supposed to be broadcasting for the Mystics? The only audio feed on WNBA Live Access was provided by the San Antonio announcers. We have to give them credit, though, for not being homers.

This was an important road victory for the Mystics, still playing without the injured Marissa Coleman, and it should provide some momentum as the team finishes out the second half of their road trip. Ironically, Washington's next two opponents, the Dream and the Lynx, battled each other tonight in a nationally televised (ESPN2) display of offensive firepower that Minny won, 92-85. The Mystics will definitely need to bring all of their defensive skills to both of these next two games.

But in the meantime, congratulations to the Mystics on tonight's gritty, tough -- and successful -- performance!


At 12:10 AM, Anonymous KCH said...

What a game! I thought for a bit there that our beloved team was looking around for the nearest trash can, but they came through! I am very pleased!

At 12:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow glad they got the W.
Does Coleman have an ideal date on when she can get on the court again?

At 5:00 AM, Blogger BasketCases said...

This Sunday will be 3 weeks since Marissa was injured. High ankle sprains typically take 4-6 weeks to heal. Marissa is traveling with the team, which we take as a very good sign.

-- BC

At 5:28 AM, Blogger Everett W. said...

Have no idea if Hanrahan is calling road games but there's no way to hear such away team audio in WNBA.com's new setup.... that needs to be clarified.

At 6:24 AM, Anonymous Tabatha said...

Sounds amazing! Very happy for them! And I can't wait for Marissa Coleman to be joining them again, but I'm glad she's waiting until she's really ready.

At 6:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The SA announcer was technically not a homer, but he sure knew how to de-emphasize a Washington bucket - he had absolutely no added inflection, either positive or negative. After Alana made the final shot, we asked each other: "Did he just say Alana just drained it?" Thankfully we had two windows open on the computer, one for the audio and one for the typed play-by-play, so we were able to get quick confirmation.
Great to see the team stick with it to the finish. It sounded like the team actually ran a final play, instead of the desperation "give Alana the ball right away and see if she can win the game" that the team has tried in the past.

At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing as the previous post. I didn't know if Alana's went in or not. I had to check the play by play in order to know. The announcer was as dull as a butter knife. Go Mystics!!!!!!

At 8:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question for the BC, as I am not the basketball guru and you seems to be very knowledgeable. Can you or atempt to explain why Blue is still around? I can't seem to put a handle on having a player that seems to be healthy sitting on the bench while your starting point guard plays almost the entire game every game i've seen. Also is Mann still illing, and why did we sign her?

At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mystics announced via email and on the website that we would get Frank's call. I don't know if the failure of communication is the league's fault or the Mystics, but I wish they would get this business of the road audio sorted out once and for all.

At 9:30 AM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Dear Anonymous,

Regarding Nikki Blue...she made the roster by "winning" the competition in training camp for back-up PG. But it certainly appears that Coach Plank is not particularly comfortable with her in actual game situations. It concerns us as well that Lindsey is left playing so many minutes. At the moment it seems that Nikki's only role is as an insurance policy in the event an injury or something else prevents Lindsey from playing. It's not a good situation. Whether GM Taylor is looking for another alternative, we don't know.

As for Kristin, we think she was brought in as an insurance policy too. With Marissa out, if anything prevented Mo from playing, at least the Mystics would have another SF on their bench they could bring in who was familiar with their offense (having played in training camp).


At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel we have some dead weight on the bench right now. Last night it look like they was only rotating six players. Chas, Blue, Mann and Hump was a non factor. What is up with hump, is she not executing the coaches plays? Don't get me wrong I am excited about the win but, I am also afraid that the girls will suffer a burn out soon.

this post was a response to BC.

At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure Tasha is 100% healthy yet.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger mikej said...

CONGRATULATIONS ON THE WIN! Your DCBC is extremely informative. Thnaks

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

everyone should be writing in Lang on their all star ballots! Kia and Chaz certainly haven't earned it.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger NoComment said...

Thanks for your work, BasketCases. I finally got fed up with the pathetic AP coverage at wnba.com and the Washington Post--barely tells you anything that's not in the box score. I don't often have time to watch the games but I want to know what's REALLY happening. Glad I searched and found you.

At 1:14 PM, Anonymous Stewart said...

I think things would be different in that front court if Kia was moved back to her natural center position and Lang started in Kia's spot, with Chas coming off the bench. Just a thought. I didn't hear the game, but 1 point from your starting center isn't going to cut it.


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