Friday, August 07, 2009

"It Wasn't Pretty." That was a comment the BasketCases heard more than once as we filed (smiling) out of the Verizon Center tonight. But it was a WIN . . . and an important one at that. So pretty or not, we'll take it!

With the second half of the season now well underway, the Indiana Fever so far have a lock on first place in the Eastern Conference. But the remaining 3 playoff spots are up for grabs, and most of the Conference teams are bunched tightly in the standings. In fact, today began with the Mystics, the Sun, and the Dream all tied for second place, making each game critical in the hunt for a little breathing room.

It was with that pressure that the Mystics took the floor against the defending WNBA Champion Detroit Shock tonight. And, ugly though it was, the Mystics eked out a win, 70-66, to improve their record to 11-9 (one more win than they posted all of last season). But most important, by winning, they kept those closely-bunched teams from gaining on them in the playoff race. As a matter of fact, thanks to our friends in Minnesota (who sent us GM Angela Taylor, Head Coach Julie Plank and PG Lindsey Harding in the off-season), Washington is now all alone in 2nd place again, as the Lynx came from behind tonight to beat the Connecticut Sun.

The Mystics committed 19 turnovers and never seemed to find an offensive rhythm, but they forced Detroit into committing some turnovers of their own, and they held the Shock's two stars, Katie Smith and Deanna Nolan, to below-average nights. Lindsey Harding drew the assignment of covering All-Star Katie and did an outstanding job of defending. Alana Beard led the Mystics with a game-high 15 points and Nakia Sanford (happily) surprised many of the fans in attendance by adding 14 points (and 8 rebounds) off the bench! Kia was the only other Mystics player in double figures.

Everyone on the roster played, and several players made big plays that contributed to this un-pretty but BIG win. Among those contributors was Kristen Mann, who in not quite 6 minutes of playing time hit two big 3-pointers. And Crystal Langhorne finished with a game-high 9 rebounds, including a critical offensive board late in the 4th quarter that she put back up for 2 points; Lang was fouled on the play, and made her and-one. Though it may not have been an inspiring performance, the team patched together whatever it took to win a close one. And, in the end, that's what really counts!

The next game most of the Mystics fans will see -- in person -- will be next Tuesday against, uhh . . . the Detroit Shock. But between tonight's and Tuesday's Shock bookends, the Mystics travel to Mohegan for a Sunday match-up against the Connecticut Sun. Needless to say, Sunday's outcome -- for better or for worse -- will have a significant impact on the Eastern Conference Playoff race.

But that's in the future. As for the present, the Mystics are now 2-0 this season against the defending WNBA champions. And to think that this time last season the BasketCases were busy writing posts titled "The Vortex of Doom." What a difference a year makes!


At 8:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another great article BC's! :) I am excited to see what can come of this season with Coach Plank and the New and Improved Mystics!
BTW, Do you have any word on Chasity's injury early in the game?

At 8:42 AM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Chas was poked in the eye, but fortunately was okay and able to return to the game wearing protective goggles.

-- BC

At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's true. A win is a win, but that many turnovers probably won't result in a win at Connecticut. That issue has to be addressed.

It's nice to see that Sanford is putting in the extra work. It shows.

At 11:29 AM, Blogger fr mike said...


At 11:46 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Melvin got poked in the eye again? Sheesh. I hope it wasn't the same eye that got injured while she was with Chicago. That'd be bad news.

At 12:11 PM, Blogger xwomynjoc said...

It may have been more of a scary situation for Chas since the "eye-popping" incident last year. She looked to be in alot of pain, but came back to play and didn't seem afraid to take contact. When she was flat on the floor and crawling to the bench I was thinking about her eye and hoping it was not hurt again. She's a warrior. Great win for the Mystics, ugly or not.

At 12:37 PM, Blogger tervin said...

I think Chas played a little better after she came back with the goggles. If that's the case, she should wear 'em all the time!

Kia was fantastic last night: good hands, kept the ball high, and wasn't afraid to get physical when she needd to.

And, I have to say, that Dancing Trombonist guy was very entertaining.

At 12:42 PM, Anonymous BetsyInDC said...

My favorite moment of the night was watching Cheryl Ford drag herself over to the bench with her second foul in the first minute of the game!

My second favorite moment of the night was when I realized Bill Laimbeer wasn't going to be there!

Everyone played well, although not all at the same time. I hope that's a problem Coach Plank can fix.

Go Mystics!

At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Stevo said...

Every win is a confidence booster...Just keep winning!!!!

At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best under-the-basket defense I've seen from the Mystics in a long time.


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