With About Two Minutes Left in the ballgame and Washington leading the Indiana Fever, 59-57, Comcast's play-by-play announcer, Frank Hanrahan, verbalized the question Mystics fans -- in the arena and those watching at home (including the BCs) -- were asking themselves, "Can they close out?"
A friendly asylum for a couple of crazy DC-area women's basketball fans, where we share some news, some opinions, as well as a little of almost anything else that our demented minds dredge up having to do with the WNBA, the Maryland Terrapins, or any other team, player or character associated with the world of women's hoops.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
No Finish . . . Again
For the third straight game, the Mystics came within inches of the finish line only to stumble down the stretch.
Tonight's failure took place at the Prudential Center in New Jersey, as the Mystics lost to the Liberty, 75-71, in their first meeting of the season. Another close, tightly contested, and winnable game . . . that the Mystics didn't find a way to win.
Of course it didn't help the Mystics' cause that a made basket was taken away on a very questionable charge call (on Kerri Gardin) in the final minute. Had the call gone the other way, that would've given Washington a one-point lead (plus the and-one) with about half a minute remaining. Still, the Mystics had another chance to finally close out a game. Down by 2, they got the ball back with enough time left (9 seconds) to tie or take the lead. But Jasmine Thomas threw the ball away, and that was the game. Turnovers happen, and Jas is a rookie. We understand that. What we have a harder time understanding is why Kelly Miller, an experienced veteran -- who had a hot hand tonight (17 points) -- was cooling her heels on the bench during the crucial final four-and-a-half minutes of the game.
The Mystics have now dropped to 3-13, and can no longer even equal their 2010 regular season record. Tomorrow (Friday) night, they return home for the second half of their back-to-back, and will take on the Indiana Fever, which has beaten them in the two games they've played this season.
Some of Our Readers Were Wondering why the BCs didn't post about the Mystics' game Tuesday night against San Antonio.
Well, the truth is we actually started a short post, but we were so inspired after writing about paneling that we decided to paint part of our basement . . . and ran out of time for our blog. So, like the Mystics (against the Silver Stars and against the Dream before them), we just couldn't finish.
But in case you're interested, we can easily summarize what we would have written (if we weren't sidetracked by spackling, sanding and stringing blue tape everywhere): this was another close -- and winnable -- home game that the Mystics couldn't quite close out. The link to yesterday's Washington Post game report is here.
In case you do read the linked article, we feel obligated to call attention to what we believe, after nearly 14 full seasons of sitting in the Phone Booth and looking at the attendance numbers, is one gross inaccuracy: the statement by the reporter, Shemar Woods, that the Mystics suffered "a 73-67 loss in front of 11,331 at Verizon Center." Uhhh, 11,331 at Verizon Center? Utter and complete fantasy! (We were there.) While we do understand that the "reported" attendance is not the same as the "fannies in the seats" number, how the Mystics come up with these "attendance" figures reporting big increases in attendance over last season, we honestly do not know. Perhaps thousands of free ticket giveaways? And/or thousands of tickets given to corporate sponsors (which mostly are going unused)? Who knows? But the one thing we do know is that while the Mystics front office may have some rationale for what seems to us to be their (extremely) creative accounting of reported attendance, the Mystics team was not playing "in front of" 11,331 fans. Not even close. OK . . . end of rant. (Although we reserve the right to resurrect this one at a later date.)
As our astute readers noted in their comments to our previous post, not all the action in the last week took place on the court. Apparently GM/HC Trudi's commitment to rebuilding with a core of young players cracked under the weight of mounting losses. The Mystics waived rookie Karima Christmas (who immediately found a new home with the Tulsa Shock), and also waived 6'6" rookie Ta'Shia Phillips. Ta'Shia, as you may recall, is the player the Mystics instructed Atlanta to draft with their first round pick (number 8 overall), and ship off to DC as part of the Lindsey Harding trade. Fortunately for Ta'Shia, she also found a new home . . . instantly. She is now a member of the New York Liberty. Those two youngsters' spots on the roster have been filled with a couple of older players, 3-year veteran Kerri Gardin and 11-year veteran DeMya Walker. So it seems that Mystics fans can "waive" goodbye to the youth development movement.
Speaking of "New York": the Mystics face the Liberty tonight (Thursday) in the Libs' three-year temporary home: New Jersey's Prudential Center (WNBA Live Access at 7 PM). For the Mystics, this is the first half of a back-to-back. Tomorrow (Friday), Washington hosts the Indiana Fever at the Phone Booth. (Given that it will be a Friday night game against an opponent with a couple of popular All Stars --Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas -- the BCs predict that the Mystics tomorrow will be playing in front of a (reported) crowd of 13 or maybe even 15 thousand. So arrive early and be prepared for long lines at the refreshment stands and the rest rooms!)
But we digress . . . returning to the subject of mounting losses: the Mystics, having picked up their 12th loss of the season on Tuesday, have now equalled the total number of losses they suffered during the entire 2010 regular season. In other words, just to finish with the same record as last year, the Mystics need to run the table, beginning with a win tonight followed by 18 more wins . . . in a row. Is that impossible? Not exactly. But if you asked the BCs which was more likely right now: a Mystics 19-game winning streak or the Tea Party advocating for a tax increase . . . well, let's just say we wouldn't be betting on the Mystics.
Monday, July 25, 2011
The BCs have heard a lot of griping from fans about an event the Mystics are hosting tomorrow evening (Tuesday) prior to the tip-off against the Silver Stars. Frankly, we don't understand what all the complaining's about.
Fans have been invited to an hour of pre-game networking followed by a panel discussion with Mystics owners Sheila Johnson and Ted Leonsis, as well as new WNBA President Laurel Richie. The cost is only $70, and it includes a ticket to the 7 PM game. It's $60 if you purchase the event ticket in advance, and $40 if you are a season ticketholder.
So why are people griping? Well, it seems quite a few fans think the team owners and WNBA Prez shouldn't be charging for a fan event. But the BCs think the people saying this don't appreciate the value of the opportunity being offered here.
Perhaps because paneling was a major part of our decision to purchase our first home, we "get" how important a panel discussion really is. Way back then, we looked at a lot of townhouses of similar design. But the one in which the basement paneling had been painted white . . . that was the one we ultimately bought. It would never have occurred to us to paint over wood paneling, but you can't believe what a difference it made . . . how the white color just brightened up the room, and actually made the basement seem bigger.
So those of you who don't think tomorrow's event will provide enough bang for your buck, think again. Sheila and Ted are both fabulously wealthy. Who knows how many houses they own between them. In all those houses, collectively, how much paneling do you think they have? We don't know, but we're thinking . . . A LOT. So who better to discuss paneling than Sheila and Ted? (We don't know what President Richie's background in paneling is, but we're guessing, it's extensive . . . otherwise, why would she be part of this event?)
We know there are people out there who just like to complain, but the BCs are not among them. So take our advice: stop all the griping! If you have a paneling issue, or just want to learn more about paneling for future reference, ante up your $70. We guarantee you won't be sorry.
Friday, July 22, 2011
Lions, Fires &
Back in those
For several seasons, Carolyn was there, game in and game out, sitting crossed-legged on the floor right in front of our baseline seats next to the Visitors' Bench. Countless times every game, she jumped up and down . . . collecting and distributing players' warmups, handing out towels, passing out cups of Gatorade. We chatted with Carolyn quite a lot during those summers. Though still a teenager, she impressed us as a lovely, self-confident young lady. She was friendly, dependable, and a great representive of the Mystics organization. And like so many of the girls in the arena, she aspired to play college basketball.
Being a "towel girl" wasn't, of course, a career internship or resume-building summer job, but Carolyn did it well, and always with a smile. The BCs have seen a lot of towel girls -- and boys -- over the years, but Carolyn set the standard . . . she was our All Star at that position.
Eventually, Carolyn went off to college, and we lost touch. A decade went by. Then, sometime in the last year or so, we saw her on the local news . . . a would-be passenger (headed for Africa!) stranded at National Airport during a weather shut-down. There was "our" Carolyn . . . all grown up!
But imagine our (delighted) surprise, when back in February of this year, the BCs opened the Washington Post Style section and saw Carolyn again . . . this time nominated for a Grammy!! Yes, from Mystics towel girl to Grammy nominee!! Carolyn (whose web site is here) didn't win the Grammy -- this time-- but still, just to be nominated . . . how cool is that?!!
And then today -- in the Washington Post Weekend Section -- there's a big picture of Carolyn again and a full page article about her! Headlining tonight at Neo Soul Beat Night at Carter Barron. That Carolyn has come so wonderfully far since we first knew her makes us feel a bit old, but mostly it makes us feel happy . . . for Carolyn. Even when she was a high-schooler, we knew she was exceptional. Now we have proof! So talented. So special. Carolyn, the BCs are proud of you!
P.S. Back in those early days of the WNBA, when towels carried team logos and not the name of a sponsor like Gatorade, Carolyn's job included the daunting task of preventing fans (like the BCs and others in our row) from walking off with official Mystics-logo-branded player towels. Carolyn knew we would never do anything to get her in trouble. So our faux efforts to "steal" a towel were kind of a little game we all played with her. But at the last game of the season, after the final buzzer sounded (when those Mystics-logo towels were no longer needed for the players) . . . well, let's just say that certain limited-edition linens came into the BCs' possession, and no amount of coercion will get us to tell anyone
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
The Mystics Put on a Good Show for the kiddies at the team's annual lunch-time classic today. A highly competitive see-saw battle right up until the final couple of minutes. Nevertheless, after 40 minutes of hard work, the Mystics still found themselves on the wrong end of the teeter totter, losing to the Dream, 86-79.
The camp counselors had to be thrilled. The kiddies, well-equipped with red and white plastic clappers (made in China), did plenty of clapping, cheering and (of course) screaming. What they weren't doing was fidgeting or misbehaving. The game was exciting . . . and entertaining. Considering how truly disgusting the weather was outside today (mid-90s and humid), indoor air-conditioned Mystics Camp Day was manna from heaven for campers and counselors alike.
Once again, the game began with Lang carrying the Mystics offensively until her teammates managed to warm up. Crystal scored 14 of Washington's 22 first quarter points. The Mystics led by 3 at the end of ten minutes, and took a 1-point lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the second half, Marissa really heated up, scoring 11 points in the 3rd quarter, including three buckets from beyond the arc. But although Atlanta was playing the second half of a back-to-back and dressed only 8 players, the Mystics couldn't quite shake loose of Angel McCoughtry or the rest of the Dream. The teams were tied at the end of three periods, 63-63. More of the same in the final period . . . a tight see-saw contest. Finally, with under a minute and a half remaining, the Dream broke a 78-78 tie, and held on to claim the win.
Lang led the Mystics with 24 points (and 10 boards, for another double-double). Marissa wasn't far behind, finishing with 21. Nicky did the dirty work in the paint, grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds. But unfortunately for the Mystics and their fans, Angel McCoughtry had one of her all-too-familiar big games, leading all scorers with 33 points. Lindsey Harding added 14 for Atlanta in her first trip back to the Phone Booth after changing uniforms. (The BCs sure do miss her!)
At the risk of sounding a little like a broken record (for our readers old enough to remember vinyl), it was a good effort today from the Mystics . . . just not good enough for a W. With back-to-back victories over the Fever and the Mystics, Atlanta (at 6-9) is beginning to climb back into playoff contention. Meanwhile, the Mystics (at 3-11 after today's loss) have solidified their claim on last place in the Eastern Conference standings.
All of the Mystics (except for Lang) will now get a little time off before hosting San Antonio next Tuesday night. Lang, who was named yesterday to the 2011 WNBA All Star Team, will be traveling to San Antonio this weekend to play for the East in this season's showcase of the League's top talent. You can catch the game on ABC at 3:30 PM on Saturday. Congratulations and good luck to Lang! Go East!
Monday, July 18, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
But speaking of fun and no-fun, the BCs did catch all of the earlier game last night between the (not-having-any-fun) Tulsa Shock and the LA Sparks via Live Access. Tulsa led by as many as 18 points! Well into the final period, it looked nearly certain that the Sparks would be become the second member of the I-can't-believe-my-team-lost-to-the-Tulsa-Shock Club. Alas, thanks in large part to Kristi Toliver, the Mystics remain the sole member of that ignominious organization. KT scored a game-high 25 points (tying her career high), dished out 6 assists, grabbed 3 rebounds, and had only 1 TO, to lead her team in a ferocious late-game comeback. With 19 seconds left, KT nailed a 22-foot three-pointer to put her team up by 4 . . . a shot the Tulsa play-by-play announcer described as a "dagger" to the heart of the Shock. How many times have Maryland fans seen KT do that before? That was fun to see . . . in a WNBA season that (to date) has mostly been not much fun at all. Thanks, KT! LA won, 79-74.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
It May Have Been Extremely Hot here in Washington today, but the Mystics' 3-point shooting in Seattle was even hotter. This afternoon (while "multi-tasking" at the office), the BCs (and others watching via Live Access) saw the Mystics shoot 58.8% from behind the arc . . . 10 for 17! Impressive.
With that kind of long-range accuracy, the visiting Mystics gave themselves an opportunity to knock off the defending WNBA champs in Key Arena. But, once again, they were unable to pull out the win, as the Storm prevailed, 79-71.
This time, it wasn't turnovers that sealed the Mystics' fate, it was their failure to knock down shots when they really needed them. With two minutes left in the final period, the Storm were up by only five points. The game was still winnable. But the Mystics missed five consecutive shots: four jumpers (including some good looks) and one drop-dead lay-up. So while Washington held Seattle to just three more points in those final two minutes, instead of closing the gap -- and pulling off the upset -- the Mystics fell further behind by the time the buzzer sounded.
Lang was back, that was good. But she didn't seem to be quite 100%. She finished with 10 points, but was shut out on the boards. (When has that ever happened before?) The player who led the Mystics today was Marissa. Playing 39 of the 40 minutes, Marissa put up a team-best 16 points (including 4 of 6 three-pointers), and also led Washington in rebounding with 9. Riss is now beginning to look like the WNBA player we Maryland fans thought she would be when she joined the pro league 3 summers ago. She's playing with a confidence that we haven't seen since those first few games of her rookie season, before she was hurt. Matee also finished in double-figures with 13 points, but needed 14 shots to get there. Not one of her best days.
Still, the Mystics were in the game today right up to the final couple of minutes. But despite a good effort, they drop to 2-9 on the season and remain in last place in the conference standings. Their next chance to reverse this trend comes on Friday in Phoenix, when they take on the Mercury at 10 PM ET.
Saturday, July 09, 2011
If Tonight's Game had ended after 30 minutes, the Mystics would not have lost to the Fever, 68-57. That's because Washington's young team led (or tied) conference-leading Indiana until the 31st minute of this evening's contest at Conseco.
But the Mystics' tougher-than-expected early performance -- still without Lang, Alana or Mo -- was undone by a final quarter in which they had as many turnovers as points scored (7).
Two Mystics finished in double figures: Nicky led her team with 12 points (plus 6 boards), and Marissa fell just short of a double-double, ending the evening with 11 points and 9 rebounds. Rookie Victoria Dunlap (again starting in place of Lang) chipped in 8 points and 8 boards (plus 3 steals, 3 blocks and 2 assists!)
A good effort, but still another "L" in the standings. The Mystics are now 2-8 for the season. Next up: a lunch-time game in Seattle on Tuesday (3PM EDT).
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
The Mystics Lost to the Chicago Sky last night, on the road,
Still missing Lang (as well as Alana and Mo), Washington was unable to contain the Sky's 6'6" Center, Sylvia Fowles. Big Syl put together a season-best 34-point, 16-rebound night against the Mystics' undersized and inexperienced frontcourt.
Marissa led the Mystics with 14 points, while Matee and Jasmine (off the bench) chipped in 11 points each. But it wasn't enough.
The Mystics have now fallen to 2-7 on the season. They next face the conference-leading Fever in Indianapolis on Saturday at 7 PM.
Sunday, July 03, 2011
The Mystics, who started Victoria Dunlap in Crystal's place, put up a good effort, but nevertheless ended their four-year home win streak over Seattle, losing this afternoon at the Phone Booth, 73-63.
Saturday, July 02, 2011
It’s an unfortunate fact that the WNBA is often ignored by sportswriters. It’s also an unfortunate fact that when some of them do “mention” the league, it’s often not very flattering.
The WNBA’s salary cap per team this season is $852,000. That’s the maximum total combined salary for all 11 players on one team. (WNBA salaries are so small by pro sports standards that most players play overseas during the winter to earn their living.) The NBA’s salary cap this past season per team was $58 MILLION. The minimum a team was allowed to pay out in salaries was $43.5 MILLION. The average salary for one single NBA player this past year was a reported $6 MILLION. Kobe Bryant’s 2010-11 NBA salary was a reported $24.8 MILLION. Not to mention (but we will) that WNBA players fly coach, not plush private charters.
Oh, and then there’s the fact that only 6 of the 30 NBA owners also own WNBA teams.
But hey, when it comes to bashing women’s sports, why let the facts get in the way?
Now that two different sports writers have assigned blame to the WNBA for the NBA lockout, the BCs’ inside-the-beltway radar is giving off warning signals loud and clear. You don’t live in a political town like Washington as long as we have without learning to recognize “talking points” when you hear them. We can only guess that Mike’s been played by the NBA players union. Perhaps they told him these labor problems are the fault of the WNBA and he regurgitated that line without so much as a moment of reflection. (Makes us wonder if Mike's back spending too much time with "the fraternity for arrested development" instead of doing a little independent research.)