Thursday, September 03, 2009

One Step Closer

The Mystics took an important step closer to securing a playoff berth by defeating the Storm tonight at the Verizon Center, 78-67. Washington's victory also snapped Seattle's (league-best) 6-game winning streak.

The Storm may have been playing without Lauren Jackson, but the Mystics were playing without Alana Beard, who sprained her left ankle in Sunday's win over Minny and did not dress for tonight's game. (Well, actually she did dress . . . very stylishly we might add. We don't want to leave the impression she was unclothed! She just wasn't dressed in her uniform -- for basketball.) The BasketCases were told that AB wanted to play tonight. But the Mystics are headed to Chicago for a game tomorrow against the Sky (one of the teams competing with the Mystics for a playoff spot). A game that, for better or for worse, will result in a full game swing in the standings between Washington and Chicago. So perhaps Coach Plank thought it wise to give Alana another day to heal so she could play some minutes tomorrow in Chicago.

Tonight's game was another competitive, close, 40-minute affair --both teams crashing the boards and clamping down on de-fense. The Mystics lead by 2 at halftime, and were ahead by the same margin when the final period began. And it was still only a 2-point game halfway throught the 4th quarter. But down the stretch, the short-handed Mystics made some big plays, and finally put the game away.

The win was a complete, balanced -- and exciting -- team effort from Washington, who indeed "stepped up" with AB on the sidelines. Five players finished in double figures, led by Mo Currie, whose 17-points (which included a critical 3-pointer late in the game) tied for game-high honors with Sue Bird. Matee Ajavon, who started in place of Alana, added 16 points and 4 steals. Matee's hustle and all-out effort were a sheer delight . . . she is quickly becoming another fan favorite! Marissa Coleman (her slump now history) was close behind with 15 (a perfect 3-3 from beyond the arc!). Lang struggled early but finished with 12 points (and 11 boards, for yet another double-double), and Nakia added 10. Yes, plenty of high-stepping from Alana's teammates!

The officiating tonight was typical of what we've seen in the WNBA many times before . . . bad calls for and bad calls against each team. In fact, there were so many whistles, the game seemed to take forever. Fortunately, the Mystics' lackluster performance from the free throw line didn't cost them tonight's game, but it remains an area of concern . . . particularly in this oh-so-tight playoff race.

At the moment though, what the Mystics need is as much rest as they can get before tomorrow night, when they play the second half of another infamous WNBA back-to-back. They tip-off against the Sky -- in Chicago -- at 8:30 PM ET (you can watch on Live Access).

Following tonight's win, the Mystics are back at .500 with a record of 15-15 and all alone in third place in the East. But Chicago, at 14-16, could pull even with Washington, if they could knock off the Mystics tomorrow. Or, the Mystics could create some critical separation between themselves and the Sky if they win. So once again, much will be on the line . . . another MUST win situation. Stay tuned.

Go Mystics, Beat the Sky

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases


At 1:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The officiating has become a distraction to the game flow. Hopefully Donna O was taking notes. I would rather Alana sit out one more game. The Do-or-Die games are next weekend in my opinion. So I would rather have her at close to full strength if possible.

Just my two cents.

At 7:06 AM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Last night's win was so exciting that some of our readers put up comments even before the BCs could get our game story up. So here they are, copied from the preview post below:

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Anonymous said...
What a win!

Does anyone else think the refs' performance may have been affected by the presence of Donna O in the house?

9:57 PM
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nsw43 said...
The best game of the season! Everyone stepped up. Matee was great, but so were Marissa, Lindsey, Nakia, and Mo. Christal had a poor first half but redeemed herself in the second.

If the Mystics play like this the rest of the season, they'll be in the playoffs.

10:25 PM

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Anonymous said...
A litle off-topic, but important, nevertheless. I just checked the team website, and tonight's the voting for your choice of halftime entertainment for the game on the 12th. Please cast a vote for quickchange - I LOVE those folks! There have only been 19 votes total cast today - so your vote will have a significant impact!

10:36 PM

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Anonymous said...
Hey, where's Luby?

11:02 PM

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BasketCases said...
On Sunday, we were told that Luby was ill. We hope he gets well soon.

-- BC

11:10 PM

At 9:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great win! Mo, Mattee and Marissa really stepped up. Tonight will be tough...can't believe they have to fly all the way to CHI and play a game tonight. Crazy ridiculous... Hopefully they can go at least 1-1 on this road trip and then go 2-0 the last 2 games. They control their own destiny for sure. Again, great win Mystics!

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for jumping the gun on comments - we were just too excited. Each game coming up is so critical.
We're headed out of town in the wee hours of Saturday morning, but will be staying up to watch tonight's game, and taking a computer along so we can watch Sunday's game. Then it's up in the wee hours of next Saturday for the 9 hour drive back for next Saturday's game.
My boss wonders why I take vacation at such odd times (AFTER Labor Day?) - I just let them know we can't miss any home game.


At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BCs -- any inside scoop on where the playoff game(s) would be? Dinosaurs are walking the Verizon Center during playoff week.


At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That would be great if they played at Comcast!

At 1:35 PM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Dear Anonymous,

Good guess!

It's our understanding that the Mystics have reserved COMCAST for the dates coinciding with the First Round of the WNBA playoffs.


At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of officiating- the ref we love to hate - #39 (he's the one who double-t'd Alana a few seasons ago early in a game and we have never forgotten.) He threatened to throw a courtside fan out of this game. He clearly pointed to the fan and said if you say that again I will have you thrown out!! So of course, at the end of the game I asked the fan what he said and he told me all he said was "That call sucked." Now we don't what the ref heard but he clearly threatened the fan. So now, the next time he's in the building, we know what we will chant every chance we get!!And I'm sure we'll get a few opportunities.

At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great team effort! Nice to see everyone contribute. I love the picture you posted of AB and her game face. We were sitting across from the Mystics bench and I loved watching AB's intensity. Even when she's side lined she's studying everything that's happening on the court.

At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We actually thought Price (#39) had a good game.

At 5:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see the game on WNBA access in the archive section. ?? I missed it last night and wanted to watch it tonight.


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