Friday, August 13, 2010


When the Mystics and the Lynx tipped off tonight, both teams were in 4th place in their respective conferences, precariously clinging to that last playoff position. By halftime, the Mystics were down by 11 (40-29), having played an extremely sloppy 20 minutes. They turned the ball over 16 times . . . leading to 16 first-half points for Minny. It certainly looked as though the Mystics were the team that would give up some ground to their conference rivals in the playoff race tonight.

But during the break, BC Eileen fished around in her bag and found her Glow-in-the-Dark Magic Mystics Flashing Bracelet from Camp Day. As the 2nd half started, she put it on, waved it around on each Mystics possession, and repeated the magic words: "Good Mystics Karma" . . . and that seemed to do the trick.

The Mystics turned in a stronger performance during the third quarter, outscoring the Lynx 21-12 and narrowing Minny's lead to only 2 at the start of the final period. The Lynx maintained a slim lead for most of that last quarter, but neither team was able to find any offensive rhythm. (In fact, tonight's fourth period combined scoring total of 17 points tied the WNBA record for the fewest points scored in a fourth quarter.)

It may have been ugly, but it was still a tension-filled, on the edge of your seat, nail-biter of a period. The lack of offense meant that every basket, every free throw, every bad call, might end up being the one that decided the game (and potentially whether a team made the playoffs). When the Mystics closed the gap to 2 points with 1:43 remaining, the fans were either screaming at the top of their lungs or holding their breath. Everybody was gasping for air. When the Mystics took the lead on a Katie Smith 3-pointer in the final 43 seconds, the Phone Booth went wild. With Mystics fans on their feet screaming, those remaining 43 seconds seemed an eternity: Minny got the ball back, could not score, could not inbound, and finally a foul sent Lang to the line shooting two. Crystal nailed them both, which meant that the Lynx needed a three to tie. They missed. They fouled Lang again. She missed. Jump ball. Lynx got off one more shot. A miss! Mystics win, 61-58! (Breathing resumed.) Wow! Who knew that so little offense could generate such excitement!

Lindsey Harding led Washington's scoring with 15 points. Lang once again turned in a double-double (12 points and 14 boards), and Katie rounded out the double-digit scoring with 11.

Except for the fact that it was an important come-from-behind win (with major playoff implications), this would be a game the players and their fans would most likely want to forget. The Mystics committed 23 turnovers. They shot only 36% from the floor, and the Lynx shot only 30%. The Mystics scored only 11 points in the fourth quarter, while the Lynx only scored 6. (As we said, a record!) 61 points usually isn't enough to win, but tonight, that's all that was needed for the Mystics to pick up another W.

And what a huge W it was, tying the franchise record for most wins in a season (18), and securing only the third winning season for the Mystics in franchise history. (Yes, only 3 winning seasons in 13 years.)

Most important, the Mystics' win tonight kept 5th place Connecticut (which beat Seattle) still three games behind the Mystics with four games left to play. And because the Liberty beat the Dream, the Mystics have leapfrogged over Atlanta into third place in the East, a half game ahead of Atlanta. Nevertheless, the Mystics haven't yet secured a playoff berth.

So yes, every game remains critical. And the next game is at home, on Sunday at 4 PM against the Seattle Storm, which has already locked up a playoff berth, clinched the Western Conference regular season title and secured home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Mystics need everyone to come out on Sunday to cheer . . . and bring diapers.

That's right, diapers!

The Bus Stops Here!

Well, to be more precise, the March of Dimes' Mama and Baby Bus will be stopping at the Verizon Center on Sunday, just in time for the 4 PM game against the Storm.

Why the visit? Well, the Mystics are partnering with CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield on Sunday to hold a diaper drive to benefit the Bus, which is the City's only prenatal and dental mobile unit. Parking in six different locations each week, the Mama and Baby Bus provides free prenatal and dental care to pregnant women in Wards 1, 2, 4, and 5.

The first 150 fans to donate diapers on Sunday will be invited to a post-game autograph session, and the fan who donates the most diapers will get to have dinner at Morton's with a Mystics player of her choice on a future, mutually agreeable date. (Steak! Yummy! They do have seafood entrees in case you win and want to dine with Nakia.) Everyone else who brings diapers to the game will have the enormous satisfaction of knowing that they've helped a very worthy cause.

Bring diapers! (New . . . no used ones, please.) Fill the Bus!

And, Go Mystics . . . Beat the Storm!


At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosh, that was ugly. Thank goodness for their rebounding once again. Whew, the turnovers though. Glad they won, but geez, that was ugly. Hoping for a more Conn like game on Sunday against Seattle.

At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think if we all promise to stay until the end the Mystics will stop handing us these heart stoppers?! Yes, there were errors, but we have several amazing advantages: our team never seems to get tired (what's up with that?), they never give up, and we have Julie Plank. Imagine what will happen when we have 11 healthy players.

At 11:29 PM, Anonymous kerry said...

They showed a lot of heart to pull that one out in the end, even though it was ugly. CL in particular, with some key rebounds late. They looked relieved and drained coming off the court. If they only took a little better care of the ball, it might not have been such a nailbiter. Minn put a hand on the ball on every drive to the basket and often stepped into the passing lanes to steal balls. Seemed to really threw the Mystics off. Hoping we can work on this for the playoffs....

At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Elsa4Sound said...

Agreed. It was ugly and stressful. It probably doesn't help that Minnesota's away colors are exactly the sane as the Mystics' (why don't they go back to green?).

But wow they were able to pull it off thanks to Lindsey and Katie. Mo needs her mojo back, they just weren't falling for her tonight. And the refs didn't help anything out either.

With Connecticut just trouncing Seattle maybe we have a shot too on Sunday. Go Mystics!! And if you want us rowdy, give us noisemakers! Look at how loud we were with just clapping and yelling. Bring on the thundersticks!!!

At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point about the uniform colors possiblly contributing to the turnovers. Someone in our section applauded Augustus' first basket, and then got an elbow from their friend, and a hissed "We're HOME team". Now that Live Access is letting us see the STYX in away colors, we can see how similar those colors are. Good reason to switch to a primarily red jersey next year.

At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are they switching to red??? If so, good move. At least that beige is mostly gone.

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

I like red so that would be great. Marissa Coleman had 9 boards last night. That was great! I like it when she is aggressive on the boards. She was really improved defensively since her college days. I know the offensive side isn't quite there yet but again, impressed with her improved defensive play. And again, getting on the boards like she always did in college.

At 11:43 AM, Blogger fr mike said...

GO MYSTICS! Beat the Storm!lerberw

At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell me why we still have Houts?? I know that she isn't very good as a rookie and I don't want her in, but can't we get some back-up to help us out going into the playoffs? What is going on in the crafty mind of Julie Plank?


At 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've had so many tight games that houts just can't get minutes. It's probably a money issue. Houts probably cost them nothing. Bringing on someone else with veteran experience would Cost them money they probably don't have. Matee and Katie are the back up point guards (when not playing their normal positions).

At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is available that you'd replace Houts with? I can't really think of a better option.

At 12:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as replacing Houts, I guess anyone who Plank is willing to play! Perhaps another post player??

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's hope the entire team shows up this afternoon. We'll need everyone contributing in order to keep up with Seattle.

At 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, we need them all today! I am pulling for the Fever to knock off the Sun today also! But, as long as we keep winning, we are in. They know it, so hopefully we will see a great game today by the team. Praying the turnovers are low! Take care of the basketball ladies.


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