Thursday, August 31, 2006

You Can Go Home Again. Although the WNBA season didn't end for the Mystics' Alana Beard and DeLisha Milton-Jones as they would have liked, they're both extending their summer season as members of the USA Women's Basketball Senior National Team, which will compete in the World Championships in Brazil in two weeks. Right now, the National Team is holding a training camp in Durham, North Carolina, which means a Duke homecoming for Alana, and a reunion with her college coach, Gail Goestenkors, an Assistant Coach on the National Team. Since Alana spent four years there, her USA teammates have been looking for her to be their local guide to the Durham nightlife. Alas, Alana had to confess that in all the years she was at Duke, she "never went out." Well, Alana, the BasketCases say: there's no time like the present!

Setting Records. About the most basketball related fun the BasketCases have ever had (before the Terps' magical Natty-winning season, that is!) was watching Kara Lawson during her senior year at West Springfield High School in Virginia. She was an amazing kid, someone with an abundance of talent, someone who pretty much won a game all by herself one winter's eve when just about all of the other starters on her team were injured or out with the flu. In game after game, we'd watch her pop threes like there was no tomorrow, and make spectacular passes (some so great her teammates simply were unprepared for them). We knew she was going places. And so it's been with a great deal of satisfaction and local Virginia pride that we've watched Kara develop into the pro that she has become. And since the Detroit Shock are the BasketCases' least favorite team in the WNBA, it was particularly sweet last night to watch Kara help the Monarchs blow them away in game one of the finals, 95-71. Kara nailed a blistering six of eight from behind the arc, breaking the record for the most three pointers in a WNBA final. And her 22 points were a big contribution to the Monarchs' total score, which was also a record high score for a WNBA final game. Go Kara! Go Sacto!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Terps for Dummies. The BasketCases have noticed that Blogging for Dummies has been such a phenomenal commerical success that we've decided to follow it up with a new book of our own, Terps for Dummies. And, as a special treat for our loyal blog readers, we thought we'd share a few excerpts with you as we approach the new college basketball season. Here's the first installment:

Chapter 1: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a Terp? Whenever we've been asked this question at our seminars, the BasketCases always seem to have at least one student --- usually sitting right up front wearing a Duke School of Business tee shirt --- who waves his hand and shouts out (before being recognized) that TERP stands for "Theoretical Ex-Rights Price which is the market price to which the ordinary shares of stock should gravitate following the completion of a rights issue." And then we tell him, that "no, that is not correct" and he argues with us and then we throw him out of the class. (That's the part we love the most . . . throwing Dukies out of the room never gets old.)

OK, back to the question . . . a Terp? The answer is very simple; Terp is shorthand for "terrapin," which is either a turtle (more on that later) or a person with a positive association to the the University of Maryland, an institution of higher basketball learning that has adopted the "terrapin" as its school mascot.

[Any questions? Yes? (You in the Tarheels ball-cap) "What's a turtle?" Is that your question? Yes . . . OK. Then the BasketCases would like to ask you whether you've heard the saying "No Child Left Behind?" You have? Alright . . . well, don't believe it . . . because you were.]

Perhaps that's enough for our first lesson. Check back with us, because the BasketCases will pick up again soon with answers to more FAQs and other important discussions of Terp-ology, including a look at the members of the National Championship Team (for those of you who weren't paying attention last April.) And, yes, there will be a quiz.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Tree is Suspended!! No, Mystics fans, not our Tree, Assistant Coach Wayne "Tree" Rollins (who, unlike Head Coach Richie "Mr. Technical" Adubato, is pretty laid back), but a different Tree, the one that's the mascot of the Stanford University Cardinal. It seems that the Tree failed to leave the court during halftime of the Stanford/Florida State game last March during the women's NCAA tournament. The Division I women's basketball committee has just announced that the Tree has been suspended for Stanford's next appearance in the women's NCAA tourney, and the school has been reprimanded and fined.

Loyal readers, are you wondering why it took five months to come up with the appropriate punishment for a loitering Tree? Well, it appears that this was not a first offense! According to the AP article:
"The committee was very disappointed in this disturbing pattern of behavior and strongly believes that these acts compromised the integrity of the championship," said Joni Comstock, the committee chair and the athletic director at American University. The previous student to wear the tree costume was fired in February when she performed while drunk at Stanford's game against Cal. The NCAA cited policy violations in previous years as a factor in the suspension.
Yes, the very integrity of the championship was at stake! Without firm action from the NCAA committee, future Natty-winning performances by teams like the Maryland Terrapins could easily be overshadowed by the misbehavior of marauding mascots! Thank you Joni!

And, by the way, the BasketCases say that's what Stanford gets for having a woody plant as a mascot, rather than something far more appropriate, like a panda or a turtle, or even a collection of fruits and vegetables (and a sandwich!)

Friday, August 25, 2006

No Laughing Matter. Without question, the Terps' National Championship in April left guard Shay Doron floating on Cloud 9. The thrills and joys of that experience should have been enough to last a lifetime. But they weren't; a war in another part of the world brought the star guard back to earth sooner than she could possibly have anticipated, and, undoubtedly, sooner than she would have hoped.

The deadly fighting between Shay's home country of Israel and Hezbollah has made for a very conflicted summer, as recounted in this excellent article from last week's Washington Times.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Still Going. Although the Mystics are done for the season, the WNBA Playoffs are still going on and a number of players with D.C. connections remain in the quest for this year's WNBA championship. The defending WNBA champion Sacramento Monarchs, whose roster includes two D.C. area natives, Kara (yes, we know she played Pee Wee football) Lawson and former Hoya, Becky Brunson, face off tonight in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals (10 PM EDT on NBA TV or against the Mystics West Los Angeles Sparks, whose roster includes former Mystics players Chamique Holdsclaw, Murriel Page, and Temeka Johnson.

The Eastern Conference Finals kick off earlier in the evening with the Connecticut Sun (minus injured All-Star MVP Katie Douglas) playing the Shock in Detroit beginning at 7:30 PM. This game is also being broadcast on NBA TV and

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Back to School. Well, loyal blog readers, it's been a fun roller-coaster ride with the Mystics this season, hasn't it? But now it's that time of year when the WNBA playoffs are drawing to a close and the Mystics players are taking their well-deserved rests . . . and making plans to join up with overseas teams or take on other off-season commitments.

So while the BasketCases won't stop writing about Mystics doings (. . . be sure to look for our mobile blogging about DeLisha and Alana and the rest of Team USA when they face Australia in an exhibition next month in Durham prior to the World Championships) as well as other matters of interest to Mystics fans during the long, long (did we mention long?) offseason, the BasketCases are now going back to school to catch up with their favorite student-athletes . . . the Natty-winning, Overtime-Goddesses: the Maryland Terrapins and their exciting young coach Brenda (favorite of prison inmates everywhere!) Frese.

The BasketCases are hoping to make a few Maryland converts from our blog reading Mystics fans. The Terps are fun to watch. The tickets are cheap. The players are a great group of young women. The tickets are cheap. They have an incredibly charismatic coach. The tickets are cheap. The Comcast Center is a beautiful state-of-the-art facility. The tickets are cheap. The Terps do plenty of fan giveaways . . . if you arrive on the early side, by season's end you'll probably own an entire Terrapins Tee-shirt wardrobe courtesy of the University of Maryland! The tickets are cheap. Not to mention, the parking is free! And, the tickets are cheap.**

So the BasketCases hope to see you at some Maryland games (the schedule has just been released) . . . or at the very least, we hope you'll become virtual fans of the team by continuing to check in with the DC BasketCases blog.

And, loyal readers, if a few days go by without a new blog-post from the BasketCases, please don't be concerned that we've been carted off to the looney bin . . .While that is indeed possible, the more likely explanation is simply that we won't be blogging every day during the (very long) college season. But please keep us bookmarked in your favorites, and check in with us every day or couple of days, just so you don't miss any news of the Terps or any news of offseason happenings about the Mystics!

So, Stay Tuned! And thanks to all the Mystics fans out there in the cyber-blog-world for your readership and your comments throughout the Mystics' 9th WNBA season!

**By the way, the tickets really are cheap . . . but the BasketCases suggest that you not be cheap, and that you spring for the Reserved Seats when you come up to College Park for a game. The reserved seats are only a couple of bucks more in price, but the seat locations are way way better!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

How to Make A Grown Woman Cry. By now, loyal blog readers, you all know the outcome. While Connecticut got the win (by one possession) this afternoon, 68-65, the Mystics left no doubt in the minds of the BasketCases and the other 60-some fans who had made the trip to Mohegan that today at least, they were the team that played the hardest, played with the most heart and outperformed the Sun in nearly every aspect of the game . . . but the fouls, fouls and even more fouls called on the visiting Mystics tipped the scales decidedly in favor of the home team. 32 fouls (including one flagrant and Coach Richie's obligatory Technical) were called against the Mystics. The Sun players were whistled for 17 (plus one Tee). As one Mystics fan put it, it's hard to win when you're playing 8 on 5. So the Mystics' season ended in Uncasville. The BasketCases and all the equally crazy (and absolutely wonderful) fans who were here today (and those back home in D.C. of course) are sorry it's come to an end, but as the saying goes "there's no crying in basketball" . . . unless, of course, you happen to own the team.

Prior to the game, the Mystics' staff had obtained permission from the Sun for all the Mystics fans in attendance to gather on the court after the game for a group photo. As we were posing, GM Linda Hargrove came out of the locker room to thank us all for our support all season and particularly today for making the long trip north. Right after the photo-op, Sheila Johnson and COO Curtis Symonds joined the throng of sad but proud Mystics fans gathered on center court. As the fans burst into cheers, Sheila was so overcome with emotion that she burst into tears. She was clearly so proud of her team, and how hard they fought, not just today but all season. And she was clearly very very moved by the outpouring of support and gratitude that the fans were showing to her, to Curtis, and to the Mystics team. It was getting so emotional, that the BasketCases heard sniffling and spotted a few fans reaching for their Kleenex. A short while later, many of the players, having finished their media duties, came out of the locker room to greet the fans as well. They were gracious and grateful --- hugs and handshakes all around. So that's how it ended . . . there we all were, standing on the Sun's logo in the middle of the Sun's hardwood, saying our goodbyes until next season. It was a very special ending.

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Monday morning update: Washington Post reporter Jon Gallo finally went to an away game this year, but after reading his article, the BasketCases are wondering whether he was watching the same game that we were. Readers, it is Monday morning and we know that you have to get to work, so if you you're pressed for time, read the article in today's Washington Times (yikes, are we really sending our readers to that paper?!). As for Jon's article, here's the only part that the BasketCases think is worth reading:

"Fouls were a big factor in the game," Washington Coach Richie Adubato said. "The numbers were outrageous. We had the perfect defensive scheme, but if you get called for that many fouls, there's no way you can beat a team as good as Connecticut."

Ready to go!

The Mystics have just gathered in the hotel lobby for the trek over to the arena. They were mobbed by Sun fans seeking autographs. The BasketCases and the Sun fans all agree on one thing: whoever wins this series must beat Detroit!!

(BasketCases mobile blogging)

No Sun in Uncasville

The BasketCases have awakened to a rainy, Mysty, Sunless day here at the Reservation. Is this a good omen? Only time will tell! Off for coffee and slots!

(BasketCases mobile blogging)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

House of the Rising Sun

After a fun-filled drive up I-95 (not!), the BasketCases have arrived at the Reservation. We hope that the Mystics have better luck tomorrow than we've had at the slots!

(BasketCases mobile blogging on line!)

Friday, August 18, 2006

"Without A Trace." Unbeknownst to Mystics fans, CBS decided to film an episode of its hit series about missing persons tonight at the Phone Booth, during the Mystics' first playoff game against the Sun. Unfortunately, the missing person on this episode was Alana Beard, who pretty much disappeared at the very start of the game. While the FBI (whose headquarters is only two blocks away from the arena) went out on the hunt for the Mystics' missing star, the rest of the team tried its best to stay in the game. DeLisha Milton-Jones and Coco Miller in particular were largely responsible for making it a one-possession game late in the second half. However, you can't play 4 on 5 against a team as talented as Connecticut, and the result was a very disappointing 76-61 loss to the defending Eastern Conference Champs. The home crowd got the message to wear white, bangers were handed out, we were all loud and supportive, but it just wasn't enough.

The BasketCases and about 60 other Mystics fans will be traveling to the Reservation for Sunday's game. We hope that the FBI has found Alana by then.

No Respect = No Pressure. There was a famous comedian (well, famous if you're Coach Richie's generation) whose tag line was always "I get no respect." A typical Rodney Dangerfield joke . . . "I get no respect --- I could tell that my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio." Well, the BasketCases think that the Mystics are being treated like the Rodney Dangerfields of the WNBA. Every sportswriter, every poll, every TV commentator. . . even the Las Vegas oddsmakers, not to mention (but we will!) the players on the Sting (ahem, aside to Charlotte: we're still playing and you're not!) have picked Connecticut to sweep past the Mystics into Round 2 of the playoffs. We get no respect!

But, being the kind of bloggers who always see the glass as half-full, not half-empty (unless beer is involved!), the BasketCases have concluded that No Respect = No Pressure . . . so it's all good! In a post-NCAA-tournament interview, Terps Coach Brenda Frese said "We were that 'Honorable Mention' team." Going into the NCAA tournament, those same sportswriters, polls and commentators were already awarding the championship to UNC, Duke, or possibly Tennessee as the dark horse. Maryland??? No, the Terps were the "honorable mention" team that no one --- except its players, coaches and fans --- took seriously or gave any respect.

The Mystics are not letting that bother them. In today's feature about Alana Beard in the Washington Post, Alana talks about how committed this year's Mystics team is: "At Duke, everyone was disciplined and was committed to winning a championship . . . . Just like this year's [Mystics] team is." While the BasketCases have nothing but the utmost respect for Alana, we feel it's imperative to point out (in the most mature way possible, of course) that perhaps a more fitting example would be the Maryland Terrapins. (BasketCases to Alana: Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na . . . the Terps have a Natty and the Dukies don't!) Like Maryland, the Mystics are entering tonight's playoff game (7 PM at Verizon Center or 7:30 PM according to the Post's Sports Section) as the clear underdog. But Maryland showed why they play the games. And, tonight, while the Mystics have no pressure . . . they do have an opportunity to prove a lot of people wrong and an opportunity to earn some respect! It's Playoff Time, Baby!

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mystics' Playoff Roster Set. On Wednesday, each of the playoff teams was required to submit its 11-person playoff roster. No one may be carried on the inactive list. Once a team names those 11 players, that's it; there's no going back, even if a player is injured. With Crystal Robinson reportedly well enough to play this Friday (and raring to go) the only question for Mystics' fans was who Coach Richie would drop from post-season play. The BasketCases were not surprised to learn that it was rookie Tamara James. Although Tamara was a much-heralded scorer in college, it was clear watching her play in the pros that she has not yet developed into a well-rounded player, offensively and defensively. Many young players use the off-season to play overseas and work on their games. We expect Tamara to do just that, and we hope to see her back in training camp next year as a more complete player. The BasketCases were overyjoyed to learn --- as, no doubt our loyal blog readers in Latvia must be --- that Zane Teilane has earned a spot on the playoff roster! (Hey, not bad for somebody who was supposed to be a "project" and not supposed to suit up all year!)

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Don't forget: WHITE OUT THE PHONE BOOTH ON FRIDAY!!! (Spread the word!)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mystics Announce Friday Night WHITE OUT at the Phone Booth!!!

White Out? No . . . not that "wite out". . . that's what all those "experts" will be reaching for to "correct" their predictions after the Mystics erase Connecticut from the playoffs.

White Out? No . . . not that kind of "white out!" Though, it is true that after Sunday, the Sun won't be shining and a lot of Connecticut fans will be feeling mighty cold.

White Out!!! YES . . . that's the White Out we're talking about! Time to hang that blue Mystics jersey or tee in the closet and pull out a WHITE shirt, a WHITE hat and anything else WHITE you've got, and show up dressed in WHITE for Friday night's tip-off of the Mystics' playoff run at the Verizon Center at 7 PM!

Help make a statement that you are 100% behind the team wearing the Home Whites --- the Mystics! Let the Sun's players, coaches and people watching TV see that the Phone Booth belongs to the Mystics and nobody but the Mystics.

If you're going to the game (and, you'd better be!) WEAR WHITE! If you know other people who are going . . . call them! send them an email! txt them! forward this blog-post! Do whatever it takes . . . just as long as you spread the word that Friday is WHITE OUT NIGHT at the Mystics' playoff game. [This is going to be sooo cool! Don't miss it.]

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pandas Take the Prize. Sports writer Jayda Evans, who covers the WNBA and the Storm for the Seattle Times, has given out her end-of-season awards. Jayda goes beyond such mundane and overdone categories as MVP and Rookie of the Year to include the things that are really important to fans like the BasketCases, such as "best fan giveway." And yes, Jayda has given that critical award to "Washington's 9,000 pandas." She even asks, "Can I get one?" Now, the BasketCases are not about to give up any of our precious pandas, particularly with the playoffs approaching, but if anyone from the Mystics' front office is reading this, we hope you will fulfill Jayda's request and put a panda on a plane to Seattle post haste. [Note to Jayda: If the Mystics don't come through for you, the one on the left is available on ebay.]

Alana Beard's new short hairdo was Jayda's runner-up in the "best changed hairstyle" category. Jayda had this to say about Alana's 'do: "if she gets rid of the gel, she wins." Well, Jayda, the BasketCases happen to think that Alana's hair looks just fine, gel and all. (And as for Jayda's prize winner in this category --- Tamicha Jackson's "messy mohawk" --- well . . . TJ sported that "look" two seasons ago when she played in D.C., so it's hardly "changed." The BasketCases think a disqualification is in order . . . and demand a recount!)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Lisa Leslie: "I hate to have to tell you this ( on national tv) but, Nancy, when you got dressed today . . . you forgot your blouse."

ESPN "Experts" Pick Connecticut to Advance. The "experts" on -- Graham Hays, Nancy Lieberman and Mechelle Voepel (the BasketCases' former favorite reporter) -- have unanimously picked the Sun to beat the Mystics in Round 1 of the playoffs. Nancy Lieberman had this to say:
WHO WINS? Connecticut … in two.Thibault laughs that I never pick the Sun, but this year they are my favorite, especially considering they have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Now, the BasketCases only have one thing to say to the "experts" . . . thank you for giving the Mystics extra motivation! (And, loyal blog readers, as for Nancy -- how worried should Mystics fans be by the opinion of an "expert" who has trouble getting dressed in the morning? The BasketCases think not very.)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

There's no "D" in Mystics. But there is a D in the word enD. And that's what today was, the end of the regular season, as the Mystics lost to the Liberty, 93-81, in MSG (for the second time this summer). Even though the game has no meaning in the standings, the BasketCases are disappointed that the regular season ended on such a low note, and we feel particularly bad for the two busloads of Mystics fans who got up really early this morning to travel to NY and still have a long ride home. By Friday, this will all be a bad memory . . .

We Have Liftoff! Thanks to the BasketCases' highly sophisticated technology (we got a text message!), we have just received a firsthand report from a loyal blog reader en route to New York that two busloads of Mystics fans are on their way to the Liberty game. In an effort to avoid a repeat of the road trip from hell, the bus company has provided brand new buses. Fans have been given water, juice, lunch boxes and goodie bags. Folks are feeling pretty good about their chances of actually making it to New York in time for the game, and Alana Beard is intent on sending them home with a W. In today's Post, AB had this to say: "Right now, we're not looking at the playoffs because we are focusing on New York. We don't want to go into the playoffs coming off a loss."

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No TV today.... In case you haven't noticed this, ABC, which was supposed to broadcast the Mystics/Liberty game today, has bumped it in favor of showing Connecticut/Detroit. Frankly, while the BasketCases would like to have seen the game, we had quite enough of the ABC announcers yesterday (Terry Gannon and Ann Meyers), who, in a discussion of the upcoming playoffs, handed the first round to the Sun.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Panda-monium. With 9,128 fans and an equal number of stuffed pandas cheering them on, the Mystics beat the Shock tonight, 78-66, setting a new franchise record for most wins in a season (18). The victory also assured the Mystics of a winning record for only the second time in team history. The BasketCases were a bit worried about the outcome during the first quarter, as the Mystics spotted Detroit a 16-point lead. However, the Mystics managed to get most of that back by the half, and the momentum clearly had shifted. D.C. took the lead for good during the third period. None of Bill Laimbeer’s tantrums had any effect --- either on his players or the officials --- as he and his team (clearly watching the scores from around the league) saw Indy beating the Sun, and knew that tonight (thanks to the Mystics) the Shock would not be locking up second place in the Eastern Conference.

The sea of 9,000 pandas being waved in unison was one of the most incredible things we have ever seen in the Phone Booth! The BasketCases think it was great that the Mystics gave them out to everyone . . . not merely the first few thousand to arrive. And those Build-A-Bears aren't cheap, either! They were a bear-y bear-y generous gift! (Good thing Sheila J is a billionaire!)

The win was a tremendous one for the Mystics over one of the best teams in the league, and a great boost as they prepare for the playoffs. The BasketCases have one bit of advice for Mike Thibault and his players: Be afraid, be very afraid.

DC BasketCases Exclusive Photo: The Wizards' Etan Thomas and four furry fans cheer the Mystics to victory.

We Can Bear-ly Contain Ourselves! Yes, Mystics fans, tonight is Fan Appreciation Night at the Phone Booth! And to celebrate this bear-y auspicious occasion, every fan at tonight’s game --- the last home game of the regular season (where did the summer go?) --- will receive a “limited edition” stuffed panda from Build-A-Bear.

Bear with us, there's more . . . ! Because no Mystics fan can ever have too many Mystics T-shirts, the BasketCases were also delighted to learn that the Mystics will be giving out Tees to all STHs tonight . . .whether or not their attendance was perfect!

But as happy as the BasketCases always are with free goodies, we think the Mystics could show their greatest appreciation to their fans by BEATING Bill LaimBear and his un-bear-able Bam-Bam growls girls (a/k/a the Detroit Shock).

While a Mystics win tonight would set a franchise record for most wins in the regular season, the game actually has more "meaning" for the Shock. A Shock win would lock up second place in the Eastern Conference for Detroit and guarantee them home court advantage for the first round of the playoffs. The Mystics are playing for pride, momentum and for their fans! So it's time to come out of Summer hibernation and make your way to the Phone Booth. Don't miss out on a great game --- one that could actually be a preview of the second round of the playoffs --- and your fan appreciation goodies. Remember, there will be Bears today, but they'll be gone tomorrow!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Update on Connecticut Road Trip. Now that the Mystics have secured the minimum number of people (20) they needed to make the train/bus trip on August 20 to the Reservation a "go," they have extended the booking deadline to Monday, August 14.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Connecticut Here We Come! Kudos to the Mystics, who announced in an email late today that they have organized a train/bus trip for fans to the Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday, August 20, for the second game of the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The BasketCases are confident (as no doubt, you are!) that the Mystics will take the first game from the Sun at home in the Phone Booth, so this will be your opportunity to see the Mystics complete the sweep to advance to the second round!

According to the email, the cost of the trip is $220, which includes bus/train fare and a ticket to the game. On the trip North, Mystics fans will have their very own rail-car . . . so you'll have plenty of time to make new Mystics friends and learn the words and sing (in multi-part harmony) every verse of "Walking with the Mystics!" [WARNING: This is not for people who aren’t early risers!] The train leaves Union Station at 5:23AM and arrives in New London, CT, at 11:23AM. A bus will then take fans to the Reservation, arriving at the arena at noon for the 1:30PM game. (As a special incentive not announced by the Mystics, the BasketCases will be on hand to greet the bus and we will sign autographs for all interested fans -- even if you aren’t a VIP courtside STH -- but, just so you know, we are not providing lunch!)

The return bus leaves for the New London station at 4PM (better hope the game doesn’t go into double OT!), and the train gets back to Union Station at 11:20PM. If you are interested in this trip, the Mystics ask you to book it by this Friday to guarantee a spot. To obtain an order form, contact Guest Services at 202-266-2365 or via e-mail at**

**When you contact Guest Services be sure to tell them you heard about the trip from the BasketCases blog. Maybe this will help our campaign to win a 2007 fan award gift basket!.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Sun Also Rises. The Mystics wasted little time tonight demonstrating why they are a playoff team and San Antonio is not, defeating the Silver Stars 91-79 in a game where the outcome was never in doubt. All five of the Mystics' starters scored in double figures. Alana Beard led all scorers with 22, while her Mom watched from the front row. Chasity Melvin wasn't far behind AB in scoring (18 points), and with 11 rebounds, notched another double double. Coco Miller started in place of the injured Crystal Robinson, and her contributions on both ends of the floor were much appreciated, not just by the regular fans but also by her parents, who like Mrs. Beard were in attendance tonight. Nikki T dished out a phenomenal 11 assists to go along with 14 points of her own. DeLisha Milton-Jones scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half, to help put the Mystics up by 11 points at the break.

The Mystics' win over San Antonio tonight was D.C.'s 17th W of the season, tying a franchise record. (Sad, isn't it, that in 8 seasons, the Mystics have never won more than 17 games in one season?) The Mystics have two games left not only to set a new franchise record for the number of wins, but also to do something they've only done once before in franchise history -- finish the regular season with a winning record.

While tonight's Mystics win had no bearing on their playoff position, the Connecticut Sun locked up first place in the East by virtue of their (predictable) win over the Chicago Sky and Detroit's (not so predictable) 2-point loss to the Seattle Storm. This means that the Mystics will be playing the Sun in the first round of the playoffs, with game one at the Phone Booth on Friday, Aug. 18.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Talkin' With the Mystics. The Mystics organization treated their season ticketholders to a very enjoyable event tonight at the Phone Booth. It began with a buffet dinner catered by Outback Steakhouse and an autograph session for VIP courtside STHs on the concourse, followed by the main event in the arena for all STHs. This program began with a highlight film and was followed by remarks from Sheila Johnson, Linda Hargrove, and each member of the coaching staff. Head Coach Richie Adubato spoke about the importance of fan support and offered this advice: "Be vocal, be alive, don't yell at the refs too much -- leave that to me."

The players then introduced each other, starting with the rookies and ending with the co-introduction of the Mystics' true divas, Alana and DeLisha, who came down the red carpet on the court stylin' like runway models. In between, two other players who received a particularly warm reception from the fans were Coco and Nakia. (Tot was the only player missing. Linda explained that they'd sent her home after practice today because her foot is still giving her trouble.)

The fans were seated in the three center sections, and the players were then divided up into three groups for a five minute Q&A session in front of each section of fans. The players were delightful, gracious . . . and humorous! In no particular order, here are some highlights from the BasketCases' section:

Escape from Alcatraz. When DeLisha was asked how she'd first reacted when she learned she'd been traded from L.A. to D.C., she said she was happy that she'd "made it out of Alcatraz." She added that she, Nikki T, and Tot were all happy to "escape."

Tale of Two Twins. In response to a question, Coco admitted that she and Kelly had once switched jerseys before the start of a high school practice and got through the entire practice without anyone catching on. She said the coach had "no idea." But no, they didn't try this on Andy Landers at Georgia. They were too afraid. (Smart!)

Expletive Deleted. When Nakia was asked what she'd said during the Sting game last week that earned her the technical, first she replied that she'd said, "Excuse me sir, she was over my back." When no one was buying this, Nakia confessed that she'd used an "expletive as a verb" and perhaps also "as an adjective."

It's Just Business. C-Rob was asked whether she feels bad because New York "sucks" (the questioner's word, NOT that of the BasketCases; Lib fans, don't send us hate mail). She said that she feels bad for Becky and Shameka because they are her friends, but other than that, "it's a business." She gave the young Liberty team credit for playing hard. By the way, C-Rob, though limping slightly, was adamant that she'll be back for the playoffs.

Loyal blog readers, particularly if you were sitting in one of the the other two sections, please feel free to post a comment and let us know what we missed.

After the Q and A, Sheila J and Curtis Symonds, the Mystics' Chief Operating Officer, announced the "Starting Five" awards, which were given to five fans who have worked hard to sell tickets and promote the team. They each received a huge gift basket which included an autographed basketball and other Mystics goodies. Ten other fans were given honorable mentions. (Now, since the BasketCases were not among them, watch this space next year for information about our write-in campaign.)

Finally, fans were invited back up to the concourse for ice cream, where we all had another opportunity to chat with the players as they stood behind the ice cream tables. (Obviously, their job was to make sure that nobody tried to get a double scoop.) It was a nice ending to a very enjoyable evening.

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

20 Questions. This is a reminder for all you Mystics season ticketholders out there about tonight's STH event at the Verizon Center. For those of you who aren't Mystics STHs . . . Well, you should be!! According to the BasketCases' spies sources, tonight will feature a Q&A session with the players, so come prepared to ask your favorite Mystic that one single thing you've always wanted to know. The BasketCases are already planning to ask Alana if it's true that she once ran over Michael Price's dog with her car. (If she did, that would explain a lot!) So you don't need to ask that one. And for those of you who can't make it, feel free to post a question here. If it's particularly clever, well, the BasketCases will be happy to take credit for it and ask it ourselves!

We've also heard there will be ice cream. Clearly, the Mystics' Front Office has been reading the BasketCases blog and knows how envious we are of all those kids who have been treated to free sundaes at Mystics games this year! All we can say is, it's about time!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

(Double)Overtime Is Not Our Time. The Mystics lost last night to the defending WNBA champion Monarchs in Sacramento in double overtime 99-95. The Mystics showed tremendous heart in clawing their way back into the game after Sacramento went up by as many as 17. But a tie was the best the Mystics could achieve in a game that left a foul-taste in the mouths of Mystics players, coaches and fans alike.

Four of the Mystics' starters fouled out along the way (a WNBA first, apparently) --- Teasley, Miller, Beard and Melvin, and DeLisha Milton-Jones barely hung on to finish the game with five fouls. Nakia Sanford was T'eed up during the 4th quarter. And while the Mystics' ranks were rapidly being depleted, interestingly, no Monarch was called for more than 4 personal fouls, despite the game going 50 minutes --- nor was Sacto Coach John Whisenant ever called for a technical, despite protesting calls so much that, according to the Sacramento Bee, his players and an assistant coach "took turns leading [him] away from the referees."

A total of 38 fouls were called on the Mystics, and only 22 on the Monarchs. Michael Price, No. 39, who ejected Alana from the Sting game last Sunday, was one of the officials. The BasketCases are certain that the gross disparity in fouls called last night was merely a coincidence. Richie Adubato told the press after the game that "Never in my life have I had four starters foul out in one game." Assuming the Sacramento Bee is correct that having four starters foul out is a WNBA first. . . Chalk up another infamous record for the Mystics.

Photo Credit: AP (Michael Price, Nakia Sanford, and Yolanda Griffith)

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Playoff Picture: After last night's loss, the Mystics' record is 16-15, with 3 games left to play. Again applying the BasketCases' higher mathematical skills (adding 3 to 16), we have concluded that the best the Mystics can do this season is finish 19-15. The Fever, however, already have 19 wins. This means that even if Indy loses all four of its remaining games (not likely since two of those games are against Chicago and New York), Indy would also finish 19-15. However, since the Fever hold the tie-break over the Mystics, last night's loss by DC has eliminated the chance that the Mystics could nip Indy for third place in the Eastern Conference. The Mystics will have to settle for fourth. (But, not to worry Mystics fans . . . just remember that the Terps were the lowest seeded team that made it to the Final Four this year, and they (not any of the higher seeds) brought home the Natty.)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Trivia Quiz: Time to put on your thinking caps, Mystics fans! Today, the BasketCases are testing your knowledge of Mystics history. Jon Gallo in his preview of tonight's Mystics game in Sacramento (10 PM EDT, listen on WWRC 1260 AM or tells us that in seven games spread over the last eight years (count 'em 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 . . . we told you the BasketCases are good at this higher mathematics stuff!) the Mystics have won only ONCE at Arco arena! So here's your chance to win a limited edition BasketCases T-shirt (oops! We don't HAVE BasketCases T-shirts . . . but we would give you one if we did) a genuine mint-condition (well, at least un-opened) package of Mystics bangers (something scarcer this season than Sheila Johnson limited edition bobble-less heads!). So now that you know what you're competing for, here are the Questions:

Q1: What was the exact date of the Mystics' only previous win over the Monarchs in Sacramento?

Q2: What was the final score of the game?

***drumroll, please*** Now comes the really hard question:

Q3: This game was decided in two (1-2) overtimes! What was the score at the end of regulation and what was the score at the end of the first OT?

OK, on the count of three, dust off those old media guides, dig through a stack of musty old newspaper clippings, and get to work!

1-2-3 GO!

[Note: The BasketCases' decision is final, even if it's wrong. . . which it might be, since we have no clue whatsoever what the answer to Q3 actually is!]

Friday, August 04, 2006

U-S-A! U-S-A! Trust me, loyal blog readers, only something as overwhelming as patriotic ferver could possibly cause Terps fans like the BasketCases to link to the Duke University Women's Basketball website! And, indeed, that's just what we're about to do. Why?

Because Duke is hosting the USA Women's Team training for the 2006 FIBA World Championships. Some of the training sessions will be open to the public and the USA Team will play an exhibition game on Thursday, Septemember 7th against the 2004 Olympics Silver Medal Australian Team! Here's your chance to see DeLisha and Alana, Lauren Jackson and all their American and Aussie teammates facing off in what could turn out to be a preview of the World Championship Gold Medal Game!

Tickets are on sale now. Cameron Indoor Stadium is a pretty small venue, so they will probably disappear fast. So if you'd like to see the U-S-A kick some Down-Under Derriere . . . buy your tickets and make your plans NOW!

Past Our Bedtime on a School Night. The good news was that NBA TV made a sudden decision late Thursday to televise the Mystics' game in Seattle. The bad news was that game time was was 10pm, EDT. That's pretty much when the BasketCases, who are hardly party animals, generally turn in. Staying up till midnight on a weekday night to watch basketball, even our beloved Mystics, is just a bit tough when you are turning into old farts like us. We made a valiant effort, but failed.

Reading this morning that the Mystics lost to the Storm, 86-78, committing 23 turnovers along the way, we have to say that perhaps going to sleep wasn't such a bad thing...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Breaking News! The BasketCases have just been informed (by a reliable source) that tonight's Mystics @ Seattle game will be carried on NBA TV, 10pm EDT. According to our source, this game was just added to the TV schedule a short time ago.

Note to D.T.: This had better be right! :-)

Destiny's Momma. The Mystics are currently only 1-1/2 games behind the Fever in the Eastern Conference, but after studying "Multivariable Calculus for Dummies" cover to cover (the front cover is yellow and black, and the back cover is yellow and black!), the BasketCases have analyzed the playoff picture and concluded that the phrase that Bill Paxton uttered in the BasketCases' favorite movie, Aliens, when the shuttle used to return to the mother-ship (from an alien-infested planet) blew up, doesn't quite describe the Mystics' fate --- yet --- but that could change. Let's just say we've concluded that Indy controls its own destiny and the Mystics don't. For the benefit of our loyal readers who perhaps aren't as accomplished in higher mathematics as we are, here's how the BasketCases break it down:

1) The Mystics are 16-13 with 5 games remaining. Assuming we win all 5 (of course!) we will finish with a franchise-best record of 21-13.

2) The Fever are currently 17-11 with 6 games remaining. To match the Mystics (expected) 21-13 record, the Fever must win 4 games! (21 minus 17 = 4!)

3) BUT, Indy holds the tie-break over Washington. So, unfortunately, it's not enough to just finish in a tie with Indy, the Mystics must finish at least a half-game ahead to gain the #3 position in the Eastern Conference playoffs. So Indy cannot win more than 3 games of their 6 remaining, or Bill Paxton's phrase will, indeed, apply.

4) So who does Indy play in their 6 games? The good news is that they play conference-leading Connecticut twice. The bad news is that tonight they play Minny (last place in the Western Conference), then play 5th place San Antonio in Conseco, where the Fever have been very tough to beat (10-3 at home!), then (besides the Sun games) their only remaining games are against the 2nd-to-last place New York Liberty and the league-worst Chicago Sky.

5) To sum up: Assuming 2 losses to Connecticut, Indy MUST lose at least one game to the Lynx or the Silver Stars or the Liberty or the Sky. AND, the Mystics MUST win all 5 of their remaining games (4 of which are against playoff-contenders.)

So that's our story and we're sticking to it! The Mystics play the Seattle Storm tonight (10 PM, listen on WWRC 1260AM or and Indy plays Minny at 7 PM. The playoff picture could be a lot clearer by the end of the night. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Back by (Un)Popular Demand. The truth is the BasketCases are worn out! What with the excitement building up to the unveiling of the Sheila Johnson (Bobble-less-head) figurines, plus all the cheering and celebrating (not to mention blogging) after the HUGE Mystics win over L-A, we're just too tired for a new blog. So, what do the networks do when they've got nothing new to show you? They air Reruns! So if you're a fairly new reader of the BasketCases blog, here's your chance to sample some of our earlier work. And if you've been a loyal reader since we launched the blog in May, here's your chance to revisit some BasketCases moments.

May 24, 2006: The Mystics home opener against the Liberty . . . we're so far ahead, the BasketCases take their eyes off the game and see lots of familiar (coaches) faces.

May 27, 2006: The BasketCases and Donna O!

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The BasketCases will be back tomorrow. See ya!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Night of 3,001 Sheilas. The "official" attendance reads 8,894 (the usual 6,500 die-hard Mystics fans, plus about 2,400 new cross-overs, many in Washington Capitals hockey jerseys who had heard that if you liked your sports with some hard checking and a few good knock-downs, the Mystics games were the place to be), but the true attendance was actually close to 12,000 because the official count doesn't include all 3,001 Sheilas. Early arriving fans received 3,000 Limited Edition (numbered!) Bobble-less-heads Sheila Johnson "figurines" (imported from China, home of Pax the Panda), while the 1 and only true limited edition real Sheila J danced and cheered from the owner's box. The energy of almost 12,000 Mystics fans (live and limited editions) turned out to be too much for the WNBA-leading LA Sparks as the Mystics beat them by a score of 84-74.

Playing four quarters of playoff quality basketball, the Mystics shot an impressive 52.6% from the field, while limiting the Sparks to 35.6%. Red hot Alana Beard showed why she was just named to the 2006 USA Basketball Women's World Championship Team, leading all scorers with 29 points (and 9 boards), while DeLisha Milton-Jones followed up her career-high night against Charlotte with 18 against her former team. Chasity Melvin and Nakia Sanford combined for great work inside, limiting Lisa Leslie to only 10 points and putting her into foul trouble early. As the BasketCases noted earlier today, the game featured three players on each team who had played on the other team. ("Original Mystic" Murriel Page in particular got a huge ovation from the crowd when she was introduced.) The players were vying for bragging rights against their old teammates (and in some cases, old friends), and we could not be happier with the outcome.

Tonight's win was the 4th in a row for the Mystics, and with Indy's loss to Detroit puts DC only 1-1/2 games out of 3rd place in the Eastern Conference. The BasketCases couldn't have scripted a better sendoff for the Mystics as they head west to face two tough opponents, the Storm and the Monarchs.

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

I'm So Excited
and I just can't hide it
I'm about to lose control
and I think I like it
I'm so excited
and I just can't hide it
And I know I know I know I know I know
I want one*

This is the day the BasketCases have been looking forward to all season!!! We are Soooo Excited! What, you ask, is sending the BasketCases into a frenzy of anticipation?

Could it possibly be seeing the Mystics extend their 3-game winning streak? NO.

Could it be that the Sparks are coming to town, with former Mystics Mique, Murriel and Temeka facing off against current Mystics (and former Sparks) DeLisha, Tot and Nikki T? NO.

Could it be that the triple digit heat has destroyed even more of the BasketCases' (already scarce) brain cells? NO.

It's none of those things!!!! It's because TONIGHT IS SHEILA JOHNSON BOBBLEHEAD NIGHT!!!!! Wow. . . how special is that?!!!! Just try to name one other owner of a WNBA team who's handed out bobbleheads of him/herself to the fans? You can't name a single one . . . that's because this is UNPRECEDENTED!!!

So don't miss this once in a (WNBA) lifetime opportunity (7 PM at Verizon Center) --- arrive early --- the BasketCases expect demand to be great!

*apologies to the Pointer Sisters