Saturday, September 19, 2009

Foul Mood

The Mystics' season ended tonight in Indianapolis, as the Fever prevailed in overtime, 81-74, to sweep Washington in the first round of the WNBA playoffs.

It was quite a Mystics season . . . one that gave us -- the fans -- a great deal of fun and excitement. It was one that we believe the team should be proud of. (We're proud of them!) We just wish it hadn't ended the way it did.

On Thursday, the youngest of the 8 WNBA teams in the playoffs -- the Mystics -- outplayed the #1 seed -- one of the most playoff-tested teams in the league -- for 36 minutes, but lost. Tonight, that same young team fell behind early, only to fight back and lead the Conference's top team for nearly three-quarters of the game, until Indy tied the score at the foul line with under 3 seconds left in regulation. But the Mystics still lost, this time in OT.

The worst thing about this loss -- for us -- wasn't that it ended the season or knocked the Mystics out of the playoffs. The worst thing is how we were left with the feeling that the game was handed to Indiana at the free throw line. As usual, Tamika Catchings got just about every call and, especially, just about every no call. Eleven of her game-high 24 points came from the foul line. Meanwhile, the Mystics' frontcourt players (and others) were called time and again for just about every real or perceived infraction. By the end of regulation, both Nakia and Chas had fouled out. In the overtime period, Lang and Kristen Mann were the only Mystics players left to do battle in the paint.

The Mystics scored 59 points from the field and 15 (of 20) from the line. Indiana scored 49 points from the field and 32 (of 38) from the line. Now, Washington isn't perfect; players do commit fouls. But, are the Mystics a rough, tough, physical team? (Ha! Would that they were!) We watched the game -- all of it -- on NBA TV. The aggressive, physical play looked more like it belonged to Indiana than to Washington. So we were left to wonder, how could the Fever have gotten to the free thow line nearly twice as many times as the Mystics did? We're still shaking our heads.

Crystal Langhorne finished her sophomore season with a Most Improved Player Award and another double-double (15 points & 10 boards). Alana and Lindsey each added 10. The Mystics missed some opportunties in the closing minutes of regulation to put the game away. This was a winnable game. So yes, we're disappointed. But watching the steady stream of Indiana players march to the FT line left us feeling more than disappointed in the Mystics' late-game play. We were left with the feeling that there was something really wrong about this game. So not only do we end the night -- and the season -- disappointed, but also we end it in a really foul mood.

We'll have more to say about this Mystics season (when we're in a better mood), but for now, thank you, Mystics, for an amazing season! We are proud of you, and we're looking forward to next year!


At 11:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats to mystics on a very good season. Big turn around from last year. COO, GM, Coach, most of the players (ahemm: K Mann) put their all into their jobs every day!!! This STH offers a big: THANK YOU.

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

Congratulation Washington Mystics, you put up a good fight till the end. Unfortunately you had the odds stacks against you in the Indy game, playing against the refs. Anyway I am saying it now...Washington Mystics 2010 Eastern Conference Champs!!!

Goooooooooo Detroit!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we trade Curry now? Please, please, please.

At 11:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear BC's,

Thanks for your observation and commentary. I have followed you two for the last couple of years covering the Terps. I resumed following the Mystics after a loooong hiatus. I never thought I would purchase Mytsics tickets again. But I did this year (from Erin my rep) and enjoyed coming to the competitive games!

I will not go off like "Joey Nations" but this team needs to upgrade its personnel to build on this season. So I will defer to your forthcoming blog to discuss at length. We desperately need to develop or obtain a go-to player like Catch. She was the truth!!


At 8:52 AM, Anonymous LC said...

I'm embarrassed to say that I was a latecomer to the Mystics. But to put my money where my mouth is, I'm ordering 2010 season tickets tomorrow. I don't know enough to weigh in on personnel changes, but what I love about this team is they are just that. They win together...and they lose together.

At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Mystics fan in B-More (also back from a hiatus), I also would like to thank the Mystics for a great season and this blog too!

These playoff games have been frustrating because we were so close and Indiana seemed to get all the breaks (mostly from the refs). That being said, the mystics felt much more consistent, aggressive, and I didn't cringe when they were at the foul line.

We're in for full season tickets next year. We've got a lot to build on. Go Mystics!!

At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought individual tickets this year...but I'm seriously considering season tickets for next year. HOWEVER, as much as I love Mo, Kia and Chas, the 'Sticks cannot become elite if 3 of their potential starters are THAT inconsistent. What makes it really frustrating is that they can drop a huge game at any given time (and they've done so) but then they have games were they are not just MIA, they are detrimental (TOs galore, silly fouls, forcing bad shots/passes etc.).

I don't know what has happened to Monique in particular. When she was a dukie, she was the most intelligent-looking scorer on the floor. Now, she oftentimes looks lost and unaware of what is going on around her (which I partly blame on the overall regression that resulted from last year's horrific, talent-murdering coaching). It is so confounding and sad, but I don't trust her. I cringe everytime she touches the ball. Same goes with Kia and Chas. Arg! We need an UPGRADE!

But overall, I like what I'm seeing. They are an exciting bunch!!!! Go Sticks! Go Terps!
BCs, your blog is all kinds of awesome!

At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Mystics for a good season! I think last night when the game was on the line, they fell apart a little...looked a little jumpy where as the Fever, being a veteran team with playoff experience, did not. Next year when we make the playoffs (because they will), I think we will see a team more confident in those crucial moments. I think we do need to make some personnel changes but that's normal for any team that needs to get better. We do have a "go to player" and that's Alana (she was injured though) but I do think we need another one though that can consistently put up at least 15 or more points. (maybe that's Lang, I don't know). They need more consistent play from the 3 position for sure though. I hope some time overseas will be as good for Marissa as it was for Lang last year. Again, good season Mystics. Appreciate the fight last night for sure! Julie and Angela have them going in the winning direction.

At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Mystics/Duke fan(~rAf) said...

Hey, I'm the biggest Monique fan around and I'm certainly disapointed in her offense and inconsistency. However, when looking at this game, you've got to notice she had 8 pts, 14 rebounds and 4 steals. Two of our frontcourt players (Melvin/Sanford) combined for 14 pts & 7 rebs.

The ENTIRE focus of personnel change needs to be in finding frontcourt help for Langhorne, cuz right now there is nobody else. That and Alana being seriously hobbled are the reason we got swept by Indy.

It was the magic of Harding and Langhorne's fabulous seasons, the offensive and defensive schema of Coach Plank and the incredible chemistry of these players that got this team from horrific/unwatchable to playoff bound and exciting to watch.

Angela Taylor could not plug every hole in this team in one season. So she chose to save the frontcourt upgrade until next season. Next season starts now. I can imagine free agents wanting to join this team now. The possibilities are now endless.

Mo Currie might very well move on to another team next season. But she fought hard for this squad and provided defense, rebounding and foul shooting despite her offense going MIA. Her contributions to the renewed life of this franchise should not be overlooked.

And next season we should have Marissa back at 100%. The focus of change/upgrade needs to be completely on the front court. Lang,Harding,Beard and Coleman are absolute keepers.

At 4:46 PM, Blogger fr mike said...

"Thank you, Mystics, for an amazing season! We are proud of you, and we're looking forward to next year!"

DC BasketCases, thank you for all your support to our Mystics!

I wish I lived near DC. I can't wait already for next season.


At 5:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in agreement with most comments. The fact that we could take indiana to OT without a go to player is an incredible compliment to coach plank. Down the stretch twice lang had the ball in deep for buckets that could have been the difference. The first time she missed a layup and the second time she was blocked on the amazing play by catch. If this was earlier in the season beard makes the play at the end of regulation but it was obvious her health was not there. Lang is a great competitor and rebounder but not sure I ever see her becoming a dominant offensive force inside. We need a back up point guard (good luck to Blue wherever she ends up because it won't be DC) and we need a scoring force inside. I don't see Melvin or Blue definitely not coming back everyone else has a shot but the only definites are harding, beard, coleman and lang.

At 5:43 PM, Blogger nsw43 said...

Any thoughts on who the Mystics could get to shore up the frontcourt? I think Nakia is worth keeping but Chas has to go.

At 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A more immediate question may be who will be protected in the Tulsa expansion draft, eh?

At 9:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many players can they protect? Anyone know? I hope more than 1.

At 11:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the Atlanta draft, each team could protect six.

At 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see Melvin or Blue definitely not coming back everyone else has a shot but the only definites are harding, beard, coleman and lang.

I don't see Matee going anywhere either, I think she's a definite lock.

At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like everyone else I am so sad to see the season end and wanted so badly to be able to see a game tonite. I, like everyone else definitely think this team and organization is headed in the right direction.

I think Matee needs to be in the mix when we talk about our core players. She has proven she belongs. Her speed and other athletic gifts are awesome. They just need to be harnessed a little bit. She also will make better decisions with experience.

I do feel that the refs showed favor towards Indy, but there was simply no one in the blue uniforms who could stand toe to toe with Catchings. A healthy Alana could have given her some trouble, but she simply wasn't healthy.

Here's to a bright future, and I will definitely be renewing my tickets.

At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another word in defense of Mo! Even when she isn't putting up huge points, she hits the boards hard and provides defensive intensity that doesn't necessarily show up in stats. (And that we really need!)

We love you MO! #25 rocks the house!

Great Mystics season! Can't wait for 2010!


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