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.