With Katie Smith in street clothes (the cross country travel having aggravated her back), the Mystics' active roster was reduced to only nine players this afternoon as they hosted the Connecticut Sun at the Phone Booth.
As it turned out, nine was all they needed. The Mystics (who were beaten badly by the Sun just a week ago at Mohegan) led from wire to wire, recording a 69-65 win and improving their record to 4-3 for the year.
With Katie out, Marissa Coleman got her first start of the season, alongside Lindsey, Crystal, Monique and Kia. We knew there was something weird about that starting line-up and then it struck us . . . 80% of Washington's starters all played in the 2006 NCAA Final. Old rivals, now teammates. Terps and Dukies . . . passing to each other, rebounding for each other, cheering, encouraging and supporting each other the way good teammates should.
And there's no question that today's victory required a team effort. In fact, for a period of time during the second half, the already shorthanded Mystics were playing with only eight players. Lindsey went down hard driving to the basket, apparently hurting her right shoulder, and left the floor with Navin, the Mystics' miracle-working trainer. The bench was beginning to look pretty thin and the fans were getting a little nervous. But fortunately, after an absence of several minutes, Lindsey was able to return. Whew! Every player who was suited up today played nearly double-digit minutes, and everyone -- including rookie Ashley Houts (who held her own filling in while Lindsey was being treated) -- contributed in one way or another.
Four Mystics finished in double figures. Once again Mo led all scorers, this afternoon putting up 18 points. And once again, Lang recorded a double-double (17 points -- also more than any individual Sun player -- and an incredible 16 boards); Kia had 11, including a couple of BIG lay-ins down the stretch, and Lindsey scored 10 points while dishing out 9 assists and grabbing 3 steals (that sore shoulder probably costing her a double-double today).
All in all, a real team effort. Not to mention a very important win. After their recent 3-game skid on the road, winning this one (against a conference rival) should give the Mystics a much-needed big boost of confidence.
The road-weary and battered players now have nearly a week to recuperate -- their next game isn't until Saturday, when they take on Atlanta at the Phone Booth at 7 PM. So we're hoping that Katie (whose status is day-to-day) might be back, and that Lindsey's sore shoulder has sufficient time to heal, and that the team will be almost at full-strength (no AB obviously) when the league-leading and currently undefeated Dream come to town.
Go Mystics . . . Beat Atlanta!
Photo Credit: DC BasketCases