It was great to be back at the Verizon Center today and to see the Mystics on the court once again after so many months . . . and to catch up with a few of our BFFs who were able to sneak away for a lunchtime game. The not-at-full-strength Mystics beat the not-at-full strength Liberty, 65-60, in a contest that means nada zip nothing in the season standings . . . but was still fun for the fans (mostly screaming kids), who got to see the team get their first dub-u of the year.
And though that was nice (for the team and their fans), the other major purpose of today's game (aside from winning) was for the Mystics' brain trust to evaluate the players as the May 14th deadline for reducing the roster to 10 (plus Alana) looms ever closer on the horizon.
Watching the very talented young women on the court today, playing their hearts out, but knowing as a matter of simple math that so many of them won't make the team, was tough. Many skilled players, not enough jobs. Simply adding Katie Smith and Jacinta Monroe (the Mystics' first round draft pick) to the roster means that one additional player from last year's team will have to be cut. (Bernice Mosby is no longer on the roster.) And that's not even considering the other newcomers auditioning for the team. This time of year, we definitely don't envy GM Angela Taylor, who not only has to make these tough decisions, but also has to convey them to the players involved. It's no wonder that Angela has said this is the part of her job that she likes the least.
Also not playing today: 1st round draft pick Jacinta Monroe (minor ankle problem), and reigning WNBA MIP, Crystal Langhorne (rookie chaperone and fashion consultant). We hope to see them both in action very soon.
What we've all been waiting for: Katie Smith's introduction as a Mystics starter for the very first time. And, yes, that's Assistant Coach Marianne Stanley making her first official return to the Mystics bench. Welcome Katie! Welcome back Marianne!
Also new . . . Official Lauren Bass models the refs' new uniform (complete with business-like scowl). The new orange & oatmeal color scheme is apparently designed to make the refs blend into the orange & oatmeal WNBA basketballs.
Next up for the Mystics: their second (and final) pre-season game, this Sunday at 4PM on-the-road vs the Atlanta Dream. The game will be played in Cookville, Tennessee.
D.C.-area Mystics fans will have one more chance to see the team before the season opener, as Washington scrimmages against the Polish National Team this Tuesday at 6PM at St. John's High School in D.C. in a match that will be open to the public.
Photo Credits: DC BasketCases