Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Stepping Up

On Sunday, the Mystics got that "must win" against Minnesota to stop their slide and climb back into playoff position. But one win -- big as it was -- hardly guarantees they'll be playing in the post-season.

Last night, Detroit narrowly defeated Phoenix, and now boasts the same record as Washington, 14-15. The Chicago Sky, at 14-16, are breathing down both teams' necks. Meanwhile, the Sun (a team that's never missed the playoffs) is lurking with a 14-17 record, and can hardly be counted out either. The tightness of this season's Eastern Conference playoff race is unprecedented; everyone is talking -- and writing -- about it, from Mystics GM Angela Taylor to ESPN sportswriter Mechelle Voepel.

The Mystics have just 5 games left in the regular season, the first of which is tomorrow's 7 PM re-match with Seattle at the Phone Booth. The Storm whupped the Mystics pretty good a little over a week ago during Washington's West Coast swing.

One change to note is that tomorrow the Storm will be without the services of one of their stars, Lauren Jackson. About a week ago, LJ was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her back. Of course, it's unclear whether the Mystics will have their star player, Alana Beard, in the lineup. As our readers know, Alana sprained her left ankle late in Sunday's game against Minnesota. (She rolled her right ankle during the Seattle game several days earlier.) The Post's Katie Carrera reports that Alana's availability will be a game-time decision. In the Times, Mike Fratto notes that even if Alana does play, she'll likely be limited. Obviously, we hope that AB will be well enough to play, but reading between the lines, it sounds to us like there's a distinct possibility that Alana may not dress. We hope we're wrong.

If Alana isn't available, then, as Coach Plank told the press, other people will have to "step up." Lauren Jackson's teammates did just that in beating the Atlanta Dream in double-OT last Saturday, and in beating the Liberty at MSG yesterday. Seattle's already locked up a playoff spot in the West. But their current 6-game win streak has them in position to challenge Phoenix for first place. So the Mystics on Thursday have another tough game against a highly-motivated Western Conference opponent. When all is said and done, tomorrow's game may come down to which team does a better job of "stepping up" for an injured star.

Go Mystics! Beat the Storm!


At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Stewart said...

Tonight, we'll see whether this team has grown up. One thing that struck me in the beginning of the year is that the Mystics have enough talent where they don't have to depend on one player to carry the load all the time. Let's hope that's still the case tonight.

At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, let's hope they get significant production from some other players besides Lang if Beard can't play tonight or is limited.

At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a win!

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

At 10:25 PM, Blogger 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.

At 10:36 PM, Anonymous 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!

At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, where's Luby?

At 11:10 PM, Blogger BasketCases said...

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

-- BC


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