Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The One That Got Away

You could read it in the body language of the fans as they filed out of the Phone Booth. Big disappointment. Everybody knew this was a game the Mystics should've won . . . but didn't.

Sure you can say it's never easy to beat a team three times in a row, but that's really just making excuses. The Mystics had every opportunity tonight to sweep the Shock in this third (and final) meeting of the season, but instead they lost, 77-81. You could see it in the body language of the Washington players too. They knew they let one slip away.

The game started slowly, with Detroit up 15-12 at the end of a first period in which neither team play particularly well. The second period was a bit better for Washington, as they pulled ahead to take a 33-28 lead at the half. Both teams were shooting poorly, both hitting below 35% from the floor. After the break, the Mystics worked hard to stretch their lead to 9 points at the end of 30 minutes. They pushed tempo, and played more aggressive basketball than the Shock.

So as the fourth quarter opened, it was the Mystics' game to lose . . . and lose it they did. A combination of turnovers, frustrating fouls, missed shots, and some excellent shooting by the Shock's Deanna Nolan (who led all scorers with 23) and rookie Shavonte Zellous (16 points off the bench), allowed Detroit to regain the lead and forced the Mystics to play catch-up. Tonight, they didn't . . . catch-up, that is. They gave up 35 points in the 4th quarter, after holding the Shock to 28 points in the entire first half. Big disappointment? You could say that.

The Mystics continue to struggle from behind the arc, hitting only 3 of 13 tonight (after going 0-14 on Sunday). Of late, they simply haven't had any reliable outside shooters, and it's hurting them. Washington has also been hurt in its last few games by a lack of production from the wing position. Neither starter Mo Currie nor reserve Marissa Coleman is contributing the way she needs to in order for the Mystics to win.

Alana led the team with 17 points in the losing effort, one of five Mystics players in double figures. Crystal was close behind with 15, Nakia and Lindsey each finished with 12 (Lindsey also had an impressive 8 assists), and Matee added 11 points off the bench.

With tonight's defeat, the Mystics have now dropped to .500 (11-11), and are slipping in the Eastern Conference standings. Currently they're tied with Atlanta for 3rd place in the conference. Their next game is Friday, at home, against Connecticut, who clobbered the Mystics on Sunday at Mohegan. As each game now is critical to playoff chances, let's hope that on Friday, in the Phone Booth, the Mystics can return the favor.

25 Comments:

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

I can't find cumulutive scoring by quarter on the WNBA site. Just how badly have the Mystics been outscored in the fourth quarter this season? I don't get to watch the games enough to know (in fact, in the one game I got to see in person--against SA at home--we had a rare fourth-quarter rally): what is our problem in the fourth quarter? Poor conditioning? Lack of mental toughness? This just happens way too much--in the past we've squeaked it out a few times after having big leads, but this time it cost us a hugely important W. Basket Cases, please give us your analysis!

 
At 7:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Painful! The team should never have left the game open to be handed over to the Shock by the refs (what WAS happening those last few minutes - I'm going to watch the All Access tonight to see if I can figure some of that mess out).
Glad to see Coach willing to make folks ride the pine when they failed to produce. Kia seems to respond well to coming in from the bench.

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger tervin said...

We should have won that game, plain and simple, but I'm also wondering what on earth happened at the end with the officiating. I should have known with Tiven on the floor it'd be a mess.

 
At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Accoring to a quick review of the box scores available via the Mystics website, the Mystics have "won" the 4th quarter 8 times, "lost" it 12, and tied twice. Overall, they've been outscored by about 60 points. In four of the 11 losses, they have led at the end of the 3rd period.

 
At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Stevo said...

The Bottom Line: Mystics allowed Shock to score 35 points in final period, Out rebounded, and silly fouls all contributed to loss. Final Note: This 4th quarter melt down must cease!!!!!!Solution: Wing position players must attack the paint Currently not happening,and develop that killer instinct. When you have a team down, BURY THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened between the asst coaches after the game? All I saw was the female asst. from Detroit being pulled away by a Detroit staffer and yelling at our coaches. She seemed quite upset.

 
At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an interesting comment from Coach Plank on the WNBA website...
"We gave up 46 points in the first three quarters and 35 in the fourth,'' said Washington coach Julie Plank. "I think we have to have a sense of urgency to get stops. This team is a little bit fragile. There's been games that we've had leads and held on to them and made big plays down the stretch.''

I wonder what she means by "This team is a little bit fragile?"

 
At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Stevo said...

'Soft' is another way to put it. As far as the fight that wasn't, Asst. coach Trudi, and shock Asst coach exchanged words.

 
At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm thinking players are maybe a bit tired by the 4th quarter. Coach Plank has literally run Harding into the ground because she doesn't have any faith in Blue. Why did they keep her and let other guards who may have been able to help be picked up by other teams? (Latta to name one).

And they don't appear to have much of a killer instinct as well. Perhaps it's time for another shakeup. I don't know.

 
At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blue and Mann have both been getting more time than they were early in the season. As for the "fragility," I suspect she means they sometimes lack the toughness to keep pushing and bounce back when things start to go south. They sometimes break when they should bend. For example, Harding and Nakia were quoted after last night's game to the effect that they need to learn to adjust their stayle to the way the fouls are being called, rather than just complaining about it.

 
At 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it's time to change coaches again - keeping coaches will only add to the stability of the franchise. Give a system 2 + years to pan out and then decide if it's working.

As for Coach, I question her playing Currie at all. She doesn't play like a veteran and I hope she doesn't return. It will be addition by subtraction to get rid of her ineffectiveness and poor attitude on the floor.

 
At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My highlight last night - Billie Jean King in the HOUSE!!! I just wish our outside shooters would follow their shots or at least see if teammates are in rebounding position. We also missed point blank layups which seems to indicate fatigue. I swear Zellous would shoot and then fall down!! And the refs would call a foul on the Mystics!! But we must play in spite of the refs!

 
At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad someone else saw that besides me. Zellous would shoot and fall down. She was astute enough to realize that the refs would call it. I don't blame her at all. Tweety was rewarded with two free throws for pushing off on one of our players. They were the recipients of numerous calls by the refs last night. That's just the way it was, but I won't blame the loss on the refs. The players were the ones that failed to rebound and play with passion.

 
At 3:24 PM, Blogger BasketCases said...

We don't blame the refs either -- the Mystics need to learn to finish out games -- but we did notice how ALL the Shock players seemed to fall down as soon as they shot the ball. It worked! Most likely this is a skill they learned from former Coach Bill Laimbeer.

Since Bill is out of work, maybe the Mystics could hire him as a consultant to teach OUR players how to do this convincingly. If Bill won't do it, maybe Chevy Chase (the old SNL actor, not the town in MD) might be available. :-)

--BC

 
At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Basketcases,

I think I saw Svetlana at the game last night. (I'm pretty sure I did). Have you heard anything? Is she talking with our GM about signing?

 
At 3:39 PM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Dear Anonymous,

We didn't personally spot Svet, but you are the second person to report a Svetlana sighting, so you're probably right about her being there.

As for Svet talking with our GM, to paraphase Sgt Shultz, we know nothing -- NOTHING!

--BC

 
At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we simply need to fire the coach...she is not playing her vets and subs way to much, she needs to make plays for chasity and nakia, this coach sucks!

 
At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good article on Lindsey on wnba.com

 
At 5:45 PM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Dear Anonymous,

"we simply need to fire the coach...this coach sucks!"

HA HA HA! You get the the prize for the most laughable comment of the day!

Yes, lose a game and fire a coach! That's worked so well throughout the Mystics history, so why not now??!! Simple!

Seriously, the BasketCases think that Coach Plank is one of the true bright spots of this season, and we will not allow our blog to turn into a forum for "fire-the-coach" or "trash-Julie" talk. We respect her too much. Just giving you a heads up.

--BC

 
At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

C&OSpence agrees:
(a)That Blue should be jettisoned in favor of someone who can competently fill the backup PG spot, and...

(b)That firing the coach is a horrible idea. JP may still be learning on the job but she's part of this season's turnaround.

Re Monique Currie: I thought she was gonna be a star, but at this point I think she's had more than enough time to develop. Maybe she can be packaged with the team's 2009 1st-round pick to land a center.

C&OSpence - not spending much time on the towpath this summer.

 
At 7:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm trying to think why someone would want to change coaches - did Kia start missing foul shots this year? did Mo start playing below her potential this year? - I could go on, and on,...but don't need to on this forum. The elements that are keeping this team back don't appear to be related to the coach, and in conversation with the coach, she's very aware of each player's limitations and has to plans to address them, not ignore them, as some past coaches have done.
I'm not "Board" with Plank. She's got my support.

 
At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Ginny said...

Concerning Kristi Tolliver. I went on the Sky Message Board and there was a link to an article in the Balt. Sun
http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/terps/bal-sp.toliver12aug12,0,3811635.story

Interesting!

 
At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is to confirm that Svet was at the game on Tuesday. She and GM Angela Taylor was in conversation for a very long time.

 
At 6:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any chance we could see Swoopes here in time for a playoff push?

 
At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And destroy Alana's morale (again)?

 

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