Sunday, August 16, 2009

. . . the Agony of Defeat.

Friday night, Mystics fans experienced the thrill of a huge 2OT victory over the Connecticut Sun. Two days later, in the same arena, we experienced the agony of an unfortunate defeat, as Washington let one slip away to the New York Liberty, 59-60.

The low final score might be a hint that this wasn't a particularly exciting or well-played game, by either team. The first quarter ended in a 17-17 tie. This was followed by a truly lackluster 2nd period in which the tired-looking Mystics only managed to score 6 points. Fortunately, New York scored only 14. So, as poor as they had played, Washington was only down by single digits (8 points) heading into halftime.

After the break, the Mystics showed some early signs of life, pulling even at 38 with about 3-1/2 minutes left in the 3d quarter. But they weren't able to pull away. Four consecutive missed free throws (aargh!), a couple of fouls and a few missed shots resulted in a 40-40 tie at the end of the period.

Unlike Washington's performance in some previous games, the Mystics didn't melt down or disappear in the final period. This afternoon, they actually opened up a slim, 5-point lead about halfway through the 4th quarter. That's the good news. But the bad news is that more missed free throws, fouls and missed shots allowed New York to tie the score with 44 seconds left. Alana responded on the next possession with a baseline drive for a layup, to put the Mystics back up by 2. She used up most of the shot clock, but the Liberty still got the ball back with about 20 seconds remaining.

On Friday, Lang hit the game-winner with 9.1 seconds left; today, Janel McCarville scored on Lang in the paint and was fouled . . . with 9.1 seconds left. McCarville then made the and-one. To complete the reversal of Friday's play-by-play, it was the Mystics who then missed a final 3-point attempt as time expired. Mystics lose. New York wins by 1.

This was the third meeting of these two teams this season, and it was the third time the game was decided by 3 points or fewer. Despite New York's bottom-dwelling conference standing, the Mystics knew that this game would be tightly contested, like the earlier meetings. They also knew that in order to remain in one of the top 4 spots for playoff contention, they needed to win this one. They needed to, but they didn't.

So now, as the Mystics fly out tomorrow morning for a tough, 4-game, West Coast road trip, instead of packing momentum, the team will be carrying some disappointment along with their other baggage.

The Mystics open that West Coast swing on Tuesday night at 10:30PM ET against the now-at-full-strength Los Angeles Sparks.


At 8:09 PM, Blogger fr mike said...


At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Free throws. Free throws. Free throws. Free throws.

At 8:20 PM, Anonymous Stevo said...

This road trip will test the Mystics character. Go out there and show what you're made of!!!!!!JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!

At 8:23 PM, Anonymous BetsyInDC said...

The game was sloppy and without a good rhythm, making it not all that fun to watch. A few times it felt like we were on the verge of a Liberty collapse with their whole squad panting for air, only to somehow provide them with chance after chance. McCarville did NOT play well enough to deserve the credit she'll get for this mess.

Friday night, we shot 25/28 at the free throw line (89%). Today, we shot 9/18 (50%). Alana was 1/4 but Nakia needs to stand at the stripe until she hits at least a dozen of them with her eyes closed, because if she made ONE of the five she missed we'd have had a different ball game. Ugh. Painful.

At 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was another game that we lost at the free throw line and Liberty won at the free throw line. Post players play inside, they get fouled, they must make good on their free throws.

I like Lindsey, but sometimes she plays too much one-on one.

At 7:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Nakia needs to stand at the stripe until she hits at least a dozen of them with her eyes closed"

I don't think she would have any trouble with that at practice.

At 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok - we know we can play better because we have!! Now, I think we should burn incense, sage or something in the Mystic's locker room at Verizon center while they are gone. Dispell the ugly game spirits!! The team should have visualization sessions on the road, re-visting the beginning of the season! And each player should remember to play each play until you hear a whistle - don't be looking for a call instead of getting back on D.!! As for the free throws - bend those knees and put your hand into the basket!! Fundamentals ladies. Stay positive and have fun!!

At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The previous poster is soooo right on with the comment re: playing through to the whistle. Stop looking for the dang call and waiting for a whistle and play! And re: free throws... enough has been said.
This is gut check time ladies... We are making the playoffs. PERIOD. DOT!

Mo Brown

At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Stewart said...

I don't know if anyone else noticed this, but I was VERY disturbed to see the team not go after rebounds. Watching the ball, instead of going after it. It happened quite a bit during the Tree Rollins era, and I was VERY disappointed to see it again yesterday. In fact, at one point, Leilani Mitchell, by far the shortest player on the court, came out of a scrum with a rebound. I thought we were done with that? Very embarrassing. They'd better get out of that and FAST!

At 3:40 PM, Anonymous stevo said...

Amen Stewart...great observation... rebounding is - you go and meet the ball.. We call it boxing out and the ball hits the floor or opposing player....

At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In addition to free throws . . . three pointers. Three pointers. Three pointers.


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