Game day began early for the remaining 324 season ticket holders who signed up in 1998, have renewed ever since (motto: "we're still here"), and thus survived all 11 previous seasons of the good, the bad and the ugly. We were treated to a private reception followed by the unveiling of a permanent tribute to the Mystics' "Founding Fans" -- complete with all of our names -- on the Main Concourse (across from Guest Services). The BasketCases and all the other Founding Fans we spoke with felt truly honored by the team's acknowledgement of our loyalty. What a great way to start an exciting home opener! Many thanks to COO Greg Bibb for making this happen.
Lest old acquaintances -- and old teammates -- be forgot . . . new Mystics Asst Coach Vicky Bullett and new Atlanta star Chamique Holdsclaw share a hug.
An elaborate home-opener introduction . . . complete with silhouette screen, runway with flashing lights, smoke and music special effects. Some pre-game excitement for what turned out to be a very exciting -- and fun -- afternoon.
If you are reading this post, you were likely at the game or watched the web cast, so you already know that Atlanta raced out to a big lead (22-8), but the Mystics battled right back -- pushing tempo, diving for every loose ball, dialing up the defensive intensity (17 steals today! ) -- and took a lead heading into the locker room at the half which they never relinquished, winning 77-71. Two games do not a season make, not by a long shot, but the re-made Mystics are so vastly different from last season's team it's astonishing. They are competitive, they hustle, they are playing a true "up tempo" game as Coach Plank promised. In short, they are fun to watch. In fact, we had more fun today than we did all of last season.
Chemistry 101 . . . Grade A+. Whether on the court or on the bench, all 11 players stayed very much in the action. It's clear they enjoy playing together and supporting each other.
The Architect-in-Chief of the remodeled Mystics (and writer), GM Angela Taylor (L).
Rookie Head Coach Julie Plank (still undefeated in WNBA regular season play!) and her veteran star, Alana Beard, who put on an explosive perfomance today and led all scorers with 27 points (plus 5 steals and 5 rbs)!
The fans weren't the only ones who left the arena happy. As the fans applauded, Tasha Humphrey and her teammates smiled, waved and applauded right back. We love this team!
Photo Credits: DC BasketCases