Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back to Backs Are Brutal!

Just ask the BasketCases! We had every good intention of staying up late again Saturday night to watch the Mystics take on the Monarchs in Sacramento -- another game (second in a row!) starting after 10 PM ET. Well, after blogging until the wee hours of Saturday morning, we confess . . . our snap & crackle ran out of pop by halftime. Unfortunately, the Mystics (from the 20 minutes we saw) -- up late playing the night before -- were having the same problem. They trailed by 12 points when we called it a night, and they ended up losing to Sacramento by the embarrassing score of 60-82.

After playing their hearts out to beat the Merc on Friday, followed by a 5 AM wake up call Saturday morning, and flying coach from Phoenix up to Sacramento, Washington then had to play a game that very evening (starting at 7 PM local time). As back-to-backs go, this one was brutal. But this is the WNBA, and back-to-backs come with the territory. All teams have to play them, every season. So while fatigue may have been a factor, that's no excuse for such a disappointing performance. The Monarchs team has plenty of talent and has been playing better of late, but a 22-point margin of victory? No, no excuses for that!

The box score is here, the AP story (with a glaring factual error, see if you can spot it), is here, and the Sacramento Bee story is here.

Some observations, with the caveat that we didn't see the entire game. The Mystics started slowly, looking tired. They were being outrebounded on the defensive boards, a sure sign their legs -- and effort -- weren't all there. Indeed, by game's end, the Monarchs had outrebounded Washington, 42-32. The Mystics shot 35.6% from the field, a stat that won't win most games. And they didn't take care of the ball, turning it over 24 times. The Monarchs held Alana Beard to a total of 5 points. Five points. Only two Mystics scored in double figures -- Lang, once again the team's leading scorer, had 16 (and 10 boards, for another double-double), and Mo had 10.

It's been that kind of a season for this young and re-made team. On Friday, the Mystics play some of the best team ball they've played all summer and defeat the team that leads the Western Conference, then on Saturday, they are routed by the team at the bottom of that same Conference. Teams that win championships know how to win consistently. The young Mystics still need to learn how to do that.

Unfortunately, with their loss to the Monarchs, the Mystics weren't able to take advantage of the fact that the Sky lost last night to Detroit. The Mystics therefore remain tied with Chicago for 4th place in the East, with fewer and fewer games to play (and the teams behind them getting closer in the standings).

The Mystics don't play again until Tuesday night, in Seattle. Here's hoping they get some good rest (figure out where their get-up-and-go got-up-and-went) and regroup to hand the Storm a big loss. They needed to -- at worst -- split this four game road trip, and Tuesday's game at Key Arena is now their final chance. Hopefully, they will make the best of it.


At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a sad lost. It was a brutal game, no question about that. One could tell they were tired. They did not played “team” ball. There was a total of only 6 assists (there were 14 assists vs. Merc). Also, in games where Coach P played K. Mann one would think that she wanted her to shoot. But they often didn’t give her the ball!
The out come might be different if we could get more production from our bench players, since they played lesser minutes against the Mercury.
A team cannot win many games down the stretch unless the bench players produce more.

Get some good rest. GO MYSTICS!

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The good news is at least Marissa Coleman is starting to show signs that she may be getting back into the groove of things (even though she's still struggling from the 3pt line and had a few TO's). She looked a lot more confident and comfortable out there last night than she has since the injury.

At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Gus said...

I have always disliked back-to-back games, especially for a travelling team. The WNBA should only have the home team play back-to-backs. I couldn't they let the game be played today instead of last night. It's hard for an East team to play at 10:30pm, just as it is hard for a West team to play at one of the East's Camp games. If the league truly wanted to they could figure it out.

I still love the Mystics and thank them for the year we have had. I went into the season just hoping for better games and I feel we got themm.

At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back to backs on the road are brutal. There is so much dead space in the schedule, you'd think they could prevent these energy draining combos that leave the team exhausted...and then having to fly commercial flights to the next venue dragging their own luggage. That would never happen to the men.

At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back to backs are killers and ridiculous. It's not like they have private planes like the men do. At any rate, they do need to get more production from their bench. Lang was solid as always...16/10. AB can't be on every game. Someone else from the bench needed to step up (or another started like Mo) and that didn't happen. I think the Mystics will continue to be up and down unless they start getting consistent contributions from the bench.


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