Thursday, August 30, 2007

BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Two new members of the Maryland Terrapin family are scheduled to make their appearance on March 11, just in time for the NCAA Tournament! Check out the video announcement on Under the Shell: follow this link, then go to the "Special Programming" selection.

CONGRATULATIONS to Coach Frese and her husband, Mark Thomas!!!
Friday morning update: today's Washington Post states that Coach B is 38. We have it on good authority that she is only 37, and won't be celebrating another birthday until well after her due date. :-)

Don't Try Drink This At Home! As loyal readers of the BasketCases blog know, the BasketCases enjoy a good glass of wine now and again (and again). So with our adopted New York Libs having been sent home Tuesday night by Evil Bill's Shock in that heartbreaking overtime game, finding some good wine on Cape Cod seemed like the right thing to do. Now, when you think of wine-producing regions of the world, some places come immediately to mind -- France, California, Italy, Germany, even our home state of Virginia. Cape Cod may be famous for many things, but wine, unfortunately, is not one of them. So imagine our surprise when we stumbled across a very pretty little vineyard in North Truro, just outside Provincetown. The place is (very originally) named Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod. We were a bit skeptical about wine produced so close to sand, sea, and lobster pots, but simply could not pass up the chance to taste the stuff (it's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it).

The vineyard makes several red and white wines, but we were told that its best sellers are a red wine called "Cranberry Light" and a white called "Diamond Light." The word "Light" is not used as the opposite of heavy or to denote something you'd drink on a diet, but rather because the wine comes in bottles shaped like a lighthouse. (Frankly, they looked to us a bit like canola oil bottles, but we got the idea.) As its name suggests, the Cranberry Light is in fact made with cranberries (something Cape Cod is famous for). Call us crazy, but the BasketCases think that the only ingredient in wine should be fermented grapes. This stuff tasted like, well, like cranberry juice! When we want cranberry juice, we open a bottle of Ocean Spray, which is considerably cheaper. As for the Diamond White, we're not sure exactly what was in it, but it was one of those wines that makes you glad the tasting table had a dump bucket.

Fortunately, the vineyard's gift shop sells little converter kits so that those brave enough to actually drink the wine can turn the empty bottles into lighthouse shaped oil lamps! And, we learned, the rest of us can purchase an empty bottle for a mere $3! Now, that's a good deal. You get a base for your lighthouse lamp and you don't actually have to drink the stuff! So if you are looking for that very special holiday gift for the person who has everything, plan a fall trip to Cape Cod or order on line . . . they make very pretty lamps.

Go anybody but Detroit Indy!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Whale Watching. When you're vacationing in one of the most gay-friendly towns in America, you would think it would be easy to find a place where you could watch Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn, Patty Coyle and their players face off in the decisive game of their WNBA playoff first round series. You would think. Haven't we all heard the great myth that only lesbians are interested in watching women's sports? So, if that's true, we should've been able to walk down Commerical Street here in Provincetown on Cape Cod and ask any pair of women-wearing-sensible-shoes where the game was being shown. You would think. Puzzled expressions don't qualify as an answer; neither do contemptuous looks that suggest that though they heard us, they took us for just another couple of bluetooth-enabled-borg-people who like to stroll in public while carrying on conversations with other bluetooth-enabled-borg-people, perhaps on the other side of the galaxy. For all they know, we could've been chatting away with Lt. Ripley. So they ignored us. Now, if you don't think that is strange, keep in mind that this is a town where if you ask anyone (yes, even the decidedly straight 3-generational family visiting from Cedar Falls, Iowa, or especially maybe a Senator from Idaho) where that guy with the foot-long dong wienie mary cheney's dad's first name physical attribute is performing his (definitely not PG!) nightclub act (yuck!), they will have no trouble pointing you in the right (or wrong, depending on your point of view) direction. But the WNBA playoffs? Blank stares.

But, like the Postal Service, the BasketCases are not easily deterred and kept from our appointed rounds, so we decided to take a different tack. We visited a couple of the meccas of women's culture here in P-town and asked about ESPN2. The first place we visited is an old Provincetown institution, Womencrafts. This is an establishment the BasketCases have dubbed The Store That Time Forgot. It's been 11 years since we've been to the Cape, and we swear not one book, one CD, one candle or one bumper sticker for sale has changed! It's kind of like stepping through a wormhole in the time-space continuum. Anyway, if anybody knew where WNBA-aficionados would be gathering this evening to watch the Libs face the Shock, we figured Womencrafts would know! We were wrong. Apparently, the WNBA hadn't yet made it through the wormhole. So, next on our list, a more happening women's place, the Vixen bar and cabaret. As we entered the darkened room, we were immediately encouraged as we spied not only a bar and a pool table, but a large flat-screen tv mounted on one wall! Well, we finally came to the right place! We were wrong. When we asked the bartender if he (yes, a women's bar with a male bartender) knew whether they got ESPN2, he apparently mistook us for visiting French-Canadians (E'esspeeyen-tu?) and answered "Je ne comprends pas." He never heard of ESPN2. He had no idea the WNBA playoffs were going on. He had no idea why we would even care about watching television, when we were vacationing in a town filled with live entertainment choices, everything from jazz singers to drag queen magicians. He's got a point.

So, Donna O, we tried. We really truly wanted to watch. Thank goodness we got to see some amazing mammals on this morning's whale watch. Even if we miss tonight's game, that alone made today a fun day on Cape Cod. Whales are magnificent animals (but size-wise, they got nothing on Bill and Rick!). Go Libs! Shay! Shay! Shay!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases Aug. 28, 2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

79 And Counting! Just when the BasketCases and other Mystics fans needed a little something to re-focus our basketball energy, the Terps today published their schedule for the upcoming 2007-08 season. And what an exciting schedule it is!

The past few seasons, the Terps have come under some criticism for having too much dessert and too few entrees on their non-conference menu. Well, one look at the new schedule tells you that those days are over!

In only their second game of the season, the Terps will square off against Oklahoma in the nationally televised State Farm Tip-Off Classic on November 11 at UNC. Yes, a chance to see Lang and Harp (the Terps, not the pub) go up against their Gold Medal winning U21 teammate Courtney Paris. The Terps will also be playing in another prestigious televised game. On December 3rd, in the Jimmy V Classic (which raises money for cancer research), Maryland meets one of last season's Final Four teams, the Scarlet Knights, at Rutgers. Sounds like a couple of road trips for the BasketCases!

Speaking of road trips, the Terps have one that takes them pretty far from Comcast. Coach B and her squad will spend Thanksgiving in sunny California, where they will play UC Santa Barbara and a team predicted to be quite competitive this season, the UCLA Bruins. Back at Comcast, the Terps close out the month of November against Ohio State on the 30th, as they represent the ACC in the (women's) inaugural Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Then in December, the Terps play host to two teams that gave them a bit of a scare last year, Middle Tennessee State and Temple. Let's hope this year things go a little more smoothly!

Probably, though, the Terps' toughest non-conference matchup will come at home on opening night, November 9, when they will take on that perennial powerhouse from the Ivy League, Princeton University! (Okay, we're just kidding . . . one of the BasketCases [the smart one] graduated from Princeton, so we're just giving her alma mater the benefit of the doubt. We can only hope the Terps don't hurt the Tigers too badly.) Seriously, the game against the Princeton Tigers is the opening match of the preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). Assuming the Terps advance (and why wouldn't they?), Maryland could also meet Notre Dame, Michigan State or LSU (another 2007 Final Four contender) in the later rounds. And all this before ACC conference play starts on January 3. Of course we needn't remind our loyal readers how tough and exciting that schedule will be!

If you still haven't purchased your season tickets, all we can say is: what are you waiting for?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Odd-Year Curse Continues

The season is over. Even though the Mystics pulled off a spectacular last-second win over Connecticut this afternoon, the Liberty have clinched the final Eastern Conference playoff spot by beating the Sky. And while it will be tempting to blame the Mystics' failure to advance to post-season play on a number of factors (an 0-8 start comes quickly to mind), there's really only one explanation -- this is an odd-numbered year.

Yes, it's that simple. As long-time DC fans know, the Mystics are the victims of an odd-year curse. The team has made the playoffs in every even-numbered year (except their just-for-fun 3-27 franchise start in 1998). But in odd-numbered years, they have never made it into the post-season. For those who don't have a calendar handy, that means the Mystics made the playoffs in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006, but went home after the regular season in 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, and now 2007. So while the Mystics treated their fans to some very exciting basketball in the waning days of this season, it seems (for now at least) there is nothing powerful enough to beat back the odd-year curse!

But the good news is that 2008 is an even-numbered year! Now that's something Mystics fans can really look forward to! (As well as a top-five draft pick!)

P.S. The BasketCases have already re-upped for next year's season tickets . . . have you?

This is Your Captain Speaking. The Mystics have done their share of flying over the years, and no doubt they've heard many interesting announcements from the cockpit. We suspect, however, that whether they've made it into the WNBA playoffs isn't one of them. But there's a first time for everything, and that first time could be today!

The Mystics this afternoon played like a team worthy of the playoffs. They fought back from a double-digit deficit at the half to beat the Sun in Connecticut, 76-74, in a game that wasn't decided until the final 1/10th of a second! It was decided by Mo Currie, who redeemed her missed FT in Sacaramento with an amazing 3 pointer, following a final-seconds miss by Alana Beard. Wow!

Now, the Mystics, like their fans, can do nothing but wait, as the Mystics' playoff hopes come down to the results of the 4 pm matchup between the Sky and the Liberty at the Garden. If New York wins, the Mystics are done for the season. So the Mystics and their fans will be holding their breath until that game is over. However, unlike their fans who can follow the action at MSG on NBA TV, the Mystics are scheduled to be on a plane flying back to DC while New York is still battling Chicago. That leaves the Mystics hoping for an in-the-air update from the pilot. If the news is what we're all hoping to hear, that update may just be the best in-flight entertainment they've ever heard.

Congratulations, Mystics! We're proud of you! Now, GO SKY!

Photo Credit: Tommy Mogren

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Clock is Ticking.
It all comes down to Sunday. Last day of the WNBA season. Last game of the regular season for the Mystics. Last game of the regular season for the Liberty. One will advance to the playoffs. One will clean out their lockers.

Tonight in Madison Square Garden, the Liberty did to Connecticut what they did to the Mystics last night . . . they beat them. And their reward is that they control their own fate and are only one win away from the 4th seed in the East.

In order to reach the playoffs, the Mystics MUST beat the Sun at Mohegan on Sunday in their 1 PM game televised on ABC. But that alone isn't enough. New York must ALSO lose to the Sky at 4pm in the Garden. If both DC and NY lose on Sunday, then the Liberty advance based on the tie-break. Since the Mystics don't control their own destiny, all the Mystics can do is win, and all their fans can do is wait.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Only the Ice Cream. Ripley certainly got her birthday ice cream today. But alas, her birthday basketball wishes did not come true, as the Mystics did not beat New York and Shay did not get in the game.

With the Mystics playing to clinch and the Liberty fighting to stay alive in the battle for that last playoff spot, it was an intense, hard-fought game at the Phone Booth. Unfortunately for Mystics fans, New York played one point harder, winning 73-72. The game was close throughout; neither team was ever able to open up a significant lead. Down the stretch, while the fans were holding their breath, the teams were trading baskets and free throws. And while our loyal blog readers know that the BasketCases do not whine about the officiating, there were also some questionable calls and questionable no-calls. Poor officiating is a fact of life in the WNBA, and teams must put themselves in a position where the refs can't affect the outcome. The Mystics were not able to do that tonight. We take nothing away from the Liberty by saying that; they played as though everything were on the line -- which it was -- and they came away with the win.

DeLisha Milton-Jones led all scorers with 21, and Alana Beard's 19 points were also more than those of any New York player. Alas, they just weren't quite enough. But the Mystics are still a half game ahead of New York, and they are not -- we repeat not -- out of the playoffs.

So here are the playoff scenarios. The Mystics, who are now 15-18, play Connecticut on Sunday at the Casino. New York, now 14-18, has two games left -- against Connecticut tomorrow at the Garden, and against the Sky on Sunday, also at the Garden. By losing tonight, the Mystics no longer control their own destiny. Even if they beat the Sun, New York must still lose one of its two remaining games for the Mystics to secure a playoff spot. If both teams win their remaining games, they would have identical 16-18 records, and New York would advance because it holds the head-to-head tie-break over the Mystics. If both teams lose their remaining games, the Mystics would advance. The bottom line is this for Mystics fans: tomorrow, you root for Connecticut, and on Sunday, you root against. Simple.

Happy Birthday!

No, the BasketCases' blog has not gone to the dogs. But today our little Cairn terrier, Ripley, is 15! And we think any dog who lives to that ripe old age deserves to have her picture on the Internet and a big cyber shout out. (Isn't she a cutie pie?)

Also, since the Mystics are playing the Liberty tonight in that all-important head-to-head matchup between the two teams vying for the very last playoff spot in the league, Ripley has a couple of birthday wishes she'd like to share with our loyal readers. First, of course, she wants the Mystics to win and clinch that final playoff spot! And since she's also a huge Terps fan, her second birthday wish is that Shay Doron gets some minutes.

Other than watching the game on NBA TV while the BasketCases are at the Phone Booth, Ripley expects to spend a quiet birthday at home, beginning with a nice morning walk and then sleeping in till about noon, at which time she will go into full terrier alert mode, staring out the window for several hours waiting for the mail to be delivered, as she has done six days a week, every week, for 15 years. And when the letter carrier arrives, Ripley will immediately transmute into Psycho Dog and hurl herself multiple times against the front door . . . after which she will promptly go back to sleep. No doubt her dreams will be sweet, since she knows that every birthday always ends with some of her all-time favorite food in the world: ICE CREAM! (And we don't mean Frosty Paws, we mean the real thing!)

A Mystics win. (We hope.) A playoff berth. (We hope.) Shay on the hardwood. (We hope.) Ice cream. (Definitely!) It's a dog's life.

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Stayin' Alive. A great deal was at stake in the game between the Mystics and the Sun at the Phone Booth tonight. For the Mystics, it was a must win in order to retain their precarious hold on 4th place in the East and stay alive in the playoff race. And for the Sun, it was a chance to gain ground on Indy and grab home court advantage for the first round of the playoffs. With so much on the line, both teams came out and treated the crowd to playoff intensity basketball, not something that Mystics fans have seen much of this season.

While it took the Mystics a little while to find their offensive rhythm, scoring only 9 points in the first quarter, they played good defense throughout the game (as did the Sun), and were only down 6 points at the half and 1 point at the end of the 3rd period. Alana Beard exploded during the 4th quarter, scoring all 18 of the Mystics' points in that period, finishing with a game-high 28 points! And Coco Miller, playing in front of Mom and Dad (a couple of the nicest folks you'd ever want to meet), came off the bench, and not only put up 15 points, but chased Lindsay Whalen all over the court on the defensive end. (Lindsay, by the way, has quite a potty mouth.) The Sun pulled out all stops to win this game -- Margo Dydek played 30 minutes, the most we can remember seeing her play in quite some time -- and they came close. But in a heart-stopping end to a really exciting game all around, the Mystics went up by one, 65-64, and Connecticut missed what would have been the game-winner at the buzzer. When the backboard lit up red, the fans were loud and on their feet. It was a good night to be at the Phone Booth.

And then the night only got better. By winning, the Mystics knocked Chicago out of playoff contention. The Liberty, playing on the road against Chicago, started their game a half-game behind the Mystics, but, unlike DC, did not take care of business, losing to a Sky team playing only for pride (and for Chas, see below), 77-65. This puts DC a full game and a half ahead of the Libs. The Mystics have two more games to play, including the head-to-head game against New York on Thursday at the Phone Booth, which is also DC's last home game of the regular season and Fan Appreciation Night. A win over the Libs would mean that on Sunday, when the Mystics play Connecticut again at the Casino (in the last game of the regular season), the Mystics could play Krazy Kops and not have to worry whether Lady Luck will smile on them.

* * * * * * *
The BasketCases send all good thoughts to one of our favorite ex-Mystics, Chasity Melvin, who suffered a very scary eye injury tonight in the Sky-Liberty game. We were relieved to read that, as frightening as the injury was, the doctors say that Chas has not suffered a loss of vision.

All three teams battling for the final playoff spot in the East are in action tonight. First, our own Mystics square off against the Sun at the Phone Booth at 7 PM. Although the Sun have already locked up a playoff berth, this game still matters a great deal to them, as they are jockeying with Indy over home court advantage and looking to carry momentum into the playoffs. The Mystics will need to defeat Connecticut's A-team if they wish to remain in the driver's seat in the race to the playoffs.

Meanwhile in Chicago, the Sky host the Liberty at 8 PM EDT (webcast on This is a critical game for the Liberty. Despite being a half-game behind DC, New York still controls its own destiny -- if they win out, they get the 4th seed. Though Chicago is still theoretically in the race, they need help from other teams in order to move up. On the other hand, they are also in the position to help (or hurt) other teams. If the Sky beats New York tonight and the Mystics take care of business at home, the Mystics will regain some breathing room in the standings. A New York win over the Sky will allow the Liberty to keep pace with the Mystics or (depending on the outcome of the Mystics game) possibly leapfrog over DC in the standings.

If you find all this confusing, you're not alone! There's only one way for all this to become less confusing . . . the Mystics need to win -- tonight, Thursday and Sunday, otherwise its anybody's horse race.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Down to the Wire. With New York edging out Detroit this afternoon on a buzzer beater by Erin Thorn, the pressure was on the Mystics to win in Sacramento tonight in order to preserve their already slim margin over the Libs for the last playoff spot in the East. Unfortunately, the Mystics lost a heartbreaker in overtime, 86-82, which means that their lead over New York has narrowed to a half-game entering the final week of the season.

The Mystics had the chance to win tonight's game in regulation when Mo Currie was fouled with 3.2 seconds left and the Monarchs were ahead by one point, but Mo missed one of her two free throws. With Sacramento stars Yolanda Griffith and Ticha Penicheiro not playing tonight, Nicole Powell stepped up big time, leading all scorers with 28, including 5 of 6 shots from behind the arc and a perfect 11 of 11 from the free throw line. Neither team was able to take care of the ball, recording a combined total of 55 turnovers.

The Mystics have three more games to play: two against the Sun, and one against New York, while New York plays the Sky twice and the Sun once, in addition to the game against the Mystics. So it's all coming down to the wire this week, with the Mystics' game against the Libs on Thursday taking on huge importance.

And with the Mystics' loss tonight, the best they can do this season is finish 17-17, and even that would require them to win out. Not quite the 10th Anniversary season that the BasketCases and other Mystics fans were hoping for.

Sleepless for Seattle. Even before they took the court against the Mystics in Seattle at 10:00 PM EDT Saturday, the Storm had been sent into the playoffs by Houston's loss to San Antonio. But for good emphasis, the Storm then blew out the Mystics, 91-68. (The BasketCases stayed up past midnight for that?!) Although the Mystics came back from a large deficit in the second quarter to head into the locker room at halftime down only by 5 (43-38), they were completely done in by failing to show up for the third period, going without a field goal for six and a half minutes, by which time Seattle had opened up a 67-41 lead. By the time the third quarter was over, the Mystics had been outscored in those 10 minutes by an astonishing 32-8.

The Mystics had no answer for Betty Lennox, who drove the lane and pretty much scored at will, recording a new career high of 34 points (in 28 minutes), while superstar Lauren Jackson, who flew back from Australia on Friday, only scored 24 (in 26 minutes). The Mystics, meanwhile, were held to a season low shooting percentage of 30.6.

All the playoff teams have now been determined in the West, while only time will tell whether it will be the Mystics, the Liberty, or the Sky who squeak into the last playoff spot in the East.

The Mystics close out their road trip in Sacramento on Sunday at 9PM EDT.

* * * * *
We send our condolences to Lauren Jackson, whose grandmother passed away this week.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Mystics continue their (so far successful) road trip tonight. At 10 PM, in a game televised on NBAtv and webcast on, a highly-motivated Washington team faces a highly-motivated Seattle team, in a game that carries playoff implications for both squads.

In case you're wondering about Lauren Jackson . . . yes, she's baaaack! You may recall LJ's phenomenal performance at the Phone Booth, where she lit up the Mystics for 47 points, only to lose the game in overtime. To say that she and her teammates are looking for a different result tonight is stating the obvious. And if that weren't enough to motivate the Storm, thanks to yesterday's Sacramento loss to Houston, a win tonight would clinch a western conference playoff spot for Seattle. According to Jayda Evans's article in today's Seattle Times, it seems her local team is also convinced that Alana led with her elbow (a no call) in her victory-sealing drive late in the previous meeting. The Storm are not happy. But they are motivated.

Fortunately, Seattle isn't the only team with motivation. As our loyal readers already know, with only 5 games left in this roller-coaster season, every game for the Mystics is a must win. Despite the 2-game lead the Mystics hold on New York in the standings, they haven't clinched, but a win over the Storm would certainly put them in very favorable position to do so . . . and soon. So the Mystics have some pretty strong motivation of their own. As Coach Tree Rollins told Mark Medina of the Washington Times,

. . .the key is for the Mystics to sustain their momentum. "We try to remember what our goal is," he said. "Even though we have our foot in the door now over Chicago and New York, we can't look back."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Climbing Higher. Last night, the Mystics got a bit closer to locking up a playoff berth as they beat the Sparks in Los Angeles, 80-75, while the Liberty failed to take care of business in Phoenix, falling to the Mercury, 97-86. The Mystics' 4th win in a row, combined with New York's loss, not only kept the Mystics in 4th place in the East but also opened up a 2-game lead on the Libs for that spot, and a 2.5 game lead on the Sky, who were idle on Thursday.

Having far too much respect for our loyal blog readers, the BasketCases will not pretend that we listened to a game that did not start until 10:30pm EDT on a school night, so we will send you for details to the AP story and the box score. Being astute readers, however, we will note, that Alana Beard led all scorers with 22, and now needs only 2 more points to reach 2,000 in her WNBA career.

After the Mystics' 0-8 start, the team's once improbable quest for post-season play moves to Seattle on Saturday, where it now seems likely that the Storm will have the assistance of Superstar Lauren Jackson, who is reported to be flying back from Australia today after a short trip home to visit an ailing family member.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Some Are More Fun than others, and this Road Trip certainly got started on the right foot.

After this weekend's two critical wins over the Liberty and the Sky, the Mystics flew to San Antonio early yesterday morning, and today picked up another BIG win in a lunchtime contest against the Western Conference leading Silver Stars, 77-73, who were playing without Becky Hammon and Vickie Johnson. Both have been struggling with injuries, and Coach Dan Hughes decided to rest them in this non-conference match-up.

Though the Mystics began the game at full strength, they didn't stay that way for long, as Nikki Teasley, reportedly suffering from a sprained knee, left early in the first half and did not return. (No indication yet as to the extent of her injury.) Despite that setback, and thanks in large part to some excellent free throw shooting (the team shot 29-32 and Alana hit all 11 of her attempts!), the Mystics managed to extend their win streak to 3 and guarantee that no matter what happens tonight when Chicago faces Indy (ESPN2 8:00 PM) and New York faces Houston (webcast 8:30 PM), they will still hold on to the all-important 4th place in the East. Game-high scoring honors went to San Antonio's Sophia Young, who finished with 26 points. Alana Beard led the Mystics with 19, while Nakia Sanford (Most Improved Player?) scored 18 points and pulled down 9 rebounds.

Next stop on the Mystics' west coast swing is Los Angeles on Thursday night. After that, it's on to Seattle to face the Lauren Jackson-less Storm on Saturday. Lo-Jack is back home in Australia this week due to a family illness. The Storm could also be without the services of center Janell Burse, who is undergoing wrist surgery and no firm date is set for her return. Having played on Saturday, the Mystics conclude their road trip with a back-to-back against the Sacramento Monarchs on Sunday.

Update: The Seattle Storm is now reporting on its website that Lauren Jackson is planning to return from Australia on Friday and is expected to play Saturday against the Mystics. They also indicate that Janell Burse's surgery is scheduled for August 14th, which suggests that, unlike Jackson, she will miss Saturday's game.

Love Lunch and Basketball.

The Mystics begin their four game west coast swing today playing the Silver Stars in San Antonio at 12:30pm EDT. The game will not be televised or web cast, but if you want to do a brown bag lunch and follow the action, tune in to 1260AM radio (or listen on, where you can also track the game via live stats).

Because San Antonio has already notched a playoff spot in the west, there is a possibility that Coach Dan Hughes may rest Becky Hammon and/or other players who are nursing nagging injuries.

* * * * * *
Congratulations to Alana Beard who was honored as WNBA Player of the Week in the Eastern Conference yesterday.

* * * * * *
And congratulations to the Washington Times, which after skipping the Mystics' last few games (and periodically ignoring games throughout the season) rediscovered the team today, reporting with cliched flair that the Mystics, barely hanging on to a playoff spot as the season builds to a close, are "feeling [a] sense of urgency."

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Mystics Snap to Attention!

Thanks to the Mystics' slow start this season, practically every game now is a must win if they want to make the playoffs. There's nothing quite like that to focus a team's attention, and indeed the Mystics were totally focused this weekend, playing games against the two teams they are battling for the final playoff spot. After beating the Liberty on Friday night, the Mystics faced the Sky this afternoon at the Verizon Center, and notched another crucial win, 71-66.

In a game that was close through most of the 40 minutes, the Mystics' All Stars, DeLisha and Alana, shined -- scoring 20 and 18 points, respectively. DeLisha, who played all 40 minutes, added 10 boards for a double-double, and also dished out 6 assists. But the Mystics' bench was the real difference-maker today, as Coco Miller, with 16 points, outscored the Sky's entire bench (15 points) single handedly. And rookie Gillian Goring, in a little more than 7 minutes of playing time, had a huge block, 4 rebounds, and 4 points, and was a major contributor to the Mystics' victory.

Today's win moved the Mystics into fourth place in the East, a game in front of Chicago. Unfortunately, the Mystics have a tough road ahead, as they leave tomorrow morning at 8am for a four-game west coast swing, playing San Antonio on Tuesday, L.A. on Thursday, Seattle on Saturday, finishing with a back-to-back against Sacramento on Sunday. Whew.

It's always fun to watch the Mystics win, and they did it this afternoon in front of two former teammates, and against two former teammates. In other words, for those without calculators, there were four former Mystics in the house.

The legendary Vicky Bullett

The always sweet, and still striking, Annie Burgess

ESPN broadcaster Stacey Dales

Chas was back as well

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Shay, Rattle & Roll! The Mystics hosted the New York Liberty Friday night, as Maryland's Shay Doron returned to the DC area for the first time since the end of her collegiate career. There was a very visible red-shirted Maryland presence in the Phone Booth -- including several of Shay's former Maryland teammates and almost the entire Terps' coaching staff. Unfortunately, Shay, who has been an under a little-utilized reserve guard for New York, did did not get to take the court except during warm-ups, as Liberty Coach Patty Coyle looked to others on her bench in what turned out to be a futile effort to stay ahead of the Mystics in the battle for the last playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

The Mystics played a nearly complete game! They led the Liberty for the entire first half, though they were rattled a bit when New York closed the gap and went ahead in the third period. But the Mystics hung tough, recaptured the lead, and rolled to victory, winning 80-68. Alana Beard had a phenomenal game, driving inside almost at will, and finishing with 24 points. Nakia Sanford, who some among the Mystics faithful were promoting for Most Improved Player, helped her cause by adding 16 points. It was an important win for the Mystics, and a tough loss for New York, as the teams traded places in the standings.

Next up for the Mystics: their other rival for the fourth playoff spot -- Chicago -- on Sunday.

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Pet Peeve: Prior to the game, fans were subjected to yet another desecration of the National Anthem, as this night's singer changed keys with nearly every note and twirled a number of them around. People all over the arena were cringing. The Anthem is the Anthem, it is not a performance piece, and it should be sung with respect. A recent letter to the editor published in the Washington Post complained about similar goings on with the Anthem at Nats games. Come on, team owners: stop giving us Anthem singers who think the start of games is an American Idol moment.

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

We Learned Yesterday that the BasketCases' favorite broadcaster, Robin Roberts, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Robin shared this information with her viewers Tuesday morning on Good Morning America. Of course, we hope and pray that Robin and all the women and men suffering from breast cancer are successful in their fight against this terrible disease.

Coincidentally, last night, Terp fan favorite Shay Doron, now a member of the New York Liberty, launched an ebay charity auction of Shay Memorabilia, to raise money for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. According to the announcement,

The auction will run for approximately 10-14 days, giving all of Shay's fans the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind memorabilia, including #22 practice jerseys from the University of Maryland, autographed hats and basketballs, t-shirts from practice camps, the Junkanoo Jam, and the NCAAs, and her shoes from the 2006 NCAA Championship game.
Did we read that right? Shay's Championship Shoes? Now those should go for a hefty sum! Definitely 3 and probably 4, maybe 5 figures! That may be a little steep for the BasketCases' budget, but we expect that Shay's used sweaty shoes will help fund lots of important research. Check out Shay's auction, get some cool Shay memorabilia, and support a great cause!

Of course, only one lucky bidder will be fortunate enough to own Shay's Championship shoes. But no doubt, many Maryland fans are wishing that they too could own a little Final Four history. So, inspired by Shay's good example, the BasketCases have decided to offer their loyal readers a little more Final Four history (not to mention a more affordable alternative): BasketCase Judith's Championship Game-worn Sneakers! This is a one-of-a-kind item! In addition to being Final Four game-worn, these sneakers have additional desirable features . . . at no additional charge, they come complete with chewing gum and popcorn kernels in the tread from the floor of the seating area at the Fleet Center in Boston, and the right shoe has a Diet Coke stain on back from a Duke fan's spilling her drink when Kristi hit the three-pointer! Certificate of Authenticity provided. BC Judith will also be pleased to autograph and/or personalize these shoes for the successful bidder. And, just like Shay, the BasketCases will be donating all proceeds (less a $7 processing charge that will replenish the ACC Visiting Coaches Beer Fund) to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Support Shay, Support Breast Cancer Research, and own some Maryland Championship history! Buy Smelly Old Shoes!

Picture credit: (lower) DC BasketCases