Thursday, July 30, 2009

Was Enough.

For the third game in a row, the Mystics raced out of the blocks at the tip-off to build a double-digit lead over their opponent in the 1st quarter. Tonight it was actually a double-double digit lead, as Washington led the New York Liberty by 22 points, 34-12, at the end of the first 10 minutes.

We wish we could tell you that this was the prelude to a blowout, a game that we could enjoy from start to finish. Sadly, it was not, as the Mystics spent the remaining 30 minutes giving back virtually every point of that big cushion. In the 2nd quarter, the Libs outscored the Mystics by 4 points (15-11), in the 3rd by another 4 points (26-22), and in the final period, Washington was outscored 22-11. New York actually closed the gap to 3 points with about a minute and a half left in the game. Fortunately, the hemorrhaging stopped there.

Thanks largely to the heroics of Alana Beard (all game long, and in the closing minutes), the Mystics managed to hang on for the win, 78-75. As much fun as it was to watch the first quarter of this game, it was decidedly not fun to watch the final 30 minutes. Even the usually unflappable Coach Plank didn't look like she was enjoying herself. She got called for her first technical (as far as we know) as a head coach.

Some positives from tonight: AB, playing like an All-Star, scored a team-high 28 points. Mo "take that Washington Post!" Currie was also in double figures, with 11 (and 9 boards), as was Nakia Sanford, who came off the bench to score a season-best 16 points in about 14 minutes of play. Washington won the battle of the boards, grabbing 42 rebounds to New York's 28. Although Lang scored only 7 points tonight, she cleaned the glass, finishing with 11 rebounds, 6 of them offensive. All 11 players on the Mystics' roster got into the game.

Tonight's win was the Mystics' 10th this season -- the same number of wins they had in all of last year. While it wasn't exactly a highlight reel classic, it was still a win . . . and an important one at that. With Connecticut's overtime loss in Indy, the Mystics have leap-frogged into 2nd place in the Eastern Conference!

Another significant fact about the win tonight: it finally put an end to a very long drought. The Mystics hadn't won a game in Madison Square Garden since July 8, 2004. That's right, 2004! More than 5 years ago! So, pretty or not, tonight's win in the Big Apple has been a long time coming.

It's clear that the Mystics are a very well-prepared team; we learned at a recent chalk talk how much emphasis the coaching staff places on analyzing film of their opponents. That may be why Washington has been so successful of late in the first quarter of their games. But it's obvious that there's still work to do. Hopefully the coaches and players will find a way to carry that early-game momentum into quarters 2, 3 and 4. In order to stay right in the midst of the playoff race, playing complete games and finishing strong need to be right at the top of the Mystics' to-do list . . . especially on Sunday when the #1 Fever make an encore appearance at the Verizon Center.


At 11:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must confess that I am disappointed in tonight's post ladies. If I didn't know any better I would think we were in the midst of a five game losing streak and in last place in the division. Let's not forget the facts - a win on the road at a place we have not won since 2004 and we are now in sole possession of second place.
In case you haven't figured it out by now, we just don't have the horses or the experience to win games by large margins.
However, every win gives our players that experience so games like this are HUGE in that it allows the players to think positive in the future when they are in the same situation.
Coach Plank deserves an awful lot of credit for the success of this team. We don't have any players that have big time experience on winning teams so that aspect takes time (we are getting there but it will definitely take time). And on a final note, Alana Beard is a flat out STUD.
Look out Indiana, the time is now.

At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well a win is a win!

But great contributions from Currie and AB. Also Nakia. The difference in rebounds was huge!!

Idk why but to me it kinda seems like Marissa should be doing more then spot up on the wing or corner she can do so much more. But i guess the ankle still might be bothering her cause i noticed when she was on the bench she had something around it.

At 12:50 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

I don't think the officiating was anybody's friend, and let's face it, y'all were going up against a team coached by someone who can't even get out of her own way. You don't know how surprised I was that we didn't get taken to the woodshed like Phoenix did by Atlanta.

Alana was on fire tonight. Couldn't be stopped. Would someone please tell Ms. Currie to stop eating lemons on the court? Or something? Such a look on her face.

At 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to applaud Nakia's control when the Liberty Flop-a-matic kicked in (or, rather, kicked BACK). She seemed to shrug off the call and get right back in the game, with obvious results.

Nice to see Coach be able to go all the way down the bench.

At 8:21 AM, Blogger hodie said...

A lot of Alana's shots were highlight reel classics, she was stunning.

And I barely recognized Nakia and Monique. Fingers crossed that they can keep playing like they wanna win.

At 9:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares about the looks on Currie's face, just keep playing good D, and making the shots Mo!

At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Stevo said...

In order to compete for a championship, all that is necessary is to find a way to WIN!!!! The Mystics did that!!! You can have a great game and still lose. The objective is to find a way to WIN!!!!!!!

At 10:57 AM, Blogger Nita said...

Amen!! That's called "GAME FACE". If we're going to compete for the playoffs and ultimately the championship. Then they all need to have their game faces on to show they're about the business of winning. Go Mystics!!!!!!!!!

At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems we get out to leads and need to focus on adjustments when teams come back at us. I think we are still new to leading/winning. We played well enough to get the Liberty coach fired! My Live Access came in clearly for the first time all season, but it sure was heart-stopping to watch.

At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, Coleman can do so much more if asked/expected, I hope the ankle isn't a factor at this point. the 1st 3 games she came out like the stud she is, maybe Plank or someone needs to give her a "little" push!


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