Sunday, April 27, 2008

Goodbye, Beijing! Hello, Washington Mystics!!!

Monday Evening Update: Crystal Langhorne made her first appearance in the Mystics' training camp today. Despite flying 20 or so hours from Beijing and feeling like it was 1:00 AM body time, she still managed to make a positive first impression on her new coaches and teammates. Read the Mystics' Day 9 training camp report here, as well as Tuesday's Washington Post article here.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of USA Basketball

Friday, April 25, 2008

Reunited . . .

The Mystics began last season with two players from the same college program, and ended with two from the same college program. But just not the same college program. When things started off last year, Chasity Melvin and Gillian Goring, both from NC State, were on the roster. But following the early-season trade of Chas to the Sky for Mo Currie, Duke replaced the Wolfpack as the only college with more than one player on the Mystics' roster.

The Blue Devils may not hold that distinction much longer, however, as the Mystics selected UCLA senior Lindsey Pluimer in the second round of this year's WNBA draft. If "Plum," as she is known, makes the final roster, she'll join Diva Nikki Blue as the second Bruin on the Mystics. It was not surprising to learn from Katie Carrera's article in this morning's Washington Post that Blue and Pluimer, who played together for two years in college, are overjoyed at the prospect of being teammates once again. Reunited . . . feeling good.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Tale of Sound and Fury . . . Signifying ???

Not long ago, the male host of a local rock music radio station ("Elliot in the Morning" on DC 101) engaged in a little trash talking about the Mystics, claiming that he and his studio crew could beat the Mystics -- a team of professional female basketball players. Typical trash talk by guys. Very stereotypical. How many Sunday morning male duffers think they can outdrive Annika Sorenstam? Lots, unfortunately. How many really can? Excuse us while we roll on the floor laughing.

So how did the Mystics respond? Well, Alana Beard got on the line and started a little trash-talking of her own. To make a long story short, the Styx decided to play the radio guys and the game was held this morning at Comcast Center. To the surprise of no one who's actually seen the WNBA, the Mystics destroyed the testosterone radio jocks, 83-23.

At the end of the first quarter, the score was 21-4; the Mystics shut out the guys in the second quarter, heading into halftime with a 42-4 lead. After 3 periods, 60-12. And it wasn't even the "real" Mystics who were playing, as Nikki Blue (who'd just flown in from her overseas team yesterday) was the only player on the court from last year's Mystics. The rest of the team were Mystics wannabees, mostly the young kids fresh out of college competing for the limited open spots on the roster. So what does that prove? That college and professional female athletes can thoroughly destroy a bunch of guys (plus their one token female reserve) who make their living sitting on their butts talking into a microphone? Yes, it does prove that. Otherwise, what does it prove? Well, nothing, really.

The BasketCases are torn about all this. On one hand, the Mystics got a lot of free positive publicity from the radio station this morning, as the game was broadcast live. Not to mention all the trash talking from both camps leading up to the game. So if you subscribe to the theory that any publicity is good publicity, then this was a major publicity plus for the Mystics.

But we also believe that women professional athletes owe nothing to trash-talking guys. They have no obligation to prove themselves better than a bunch of couch-potato men. In fact, it doesn't matter whether they are or they aren't better; they don't compete against male professionals. And the fantasy that some men have that they can beat women at a sport that the women play professionally is just that, a male fantasy. We wonder if it isn't a bit demeaning for women professional athletes even to dignify macho trash-talkers by actually playing them in a game.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Welcome Taj McWilliams-Franklin!

The Mystics announced today that they have traded DeLisha Milton-Jones to the LA Sparks for six-time All-Star power forward, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, and the Sparks' 2009 first round draft pick.

While the BasketCases are thrilled to welcome Taj to the Mystics, we are also very pleased that the situation with DeLisha has been resolved. We're happy to know she'll be suiting up this season (even if she's not wearing Mystics blue), and we wish her all the best back at her old team!

At the moment, our two newest Mystics, Taj McWilliams-Franklin and rookie Crystal Langhorne, are getting acquainted as both are playing in Beijing on the USA Senior National Team. In case you're wondering how the veteran star feels about playing with a young talented player like Crystal Langhorne, here's what Taj told USA Basketball:
What do you think of some of the younger players on this

I love them . . . . they play so hard every time they're on the floor. That gives us a good boost. There are no egos. They come out, whether they play three minutes or they play 15 minutes, they come out and play hard and give something every time they step on the court. Watching Crystal Langhorne, she's such a workhorse. Every time she steps in the game she gives you something good for the amount of time she's in there. She plays eight minutes, she's going to give you eight points, four rebounds, she's always doing something positive. She gets some good blocks, runs the floor well and has really impressed me with the crop of young bigs that we have.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Training Rookie Camp

A BasketCases shout out to Jon Siegel of the Washington Times for two big articles about the Mystics in a span of merely three days! Though the Times is normally not one of our favorite newspapers, its Sports Section actually manages to provide some good coverage of local women's basketball, albeit on a somewhat haphazard and unpredictable schedule. In any event, we're happy to see Jon paying attention and keeping us up-to-date on Mystics news.

On Friday, as you may recall, Jon broke open the news about the DeLisha Milton-Jones situation, and today he provides readers with a preview of the Mystics' training camp.

This season's camp is heavy on young players, many of them first-time campers (including WNBA Rookie Orientation "MVP" Krystal Vaughn). As has already been reported, Siegel notes that "the Washington Mystics will open training camp today without any roster players from last season." However, he provides a helpful timetable of when those roster players are expected to trickle in to camp (or not, in the case of DMJ). Alana Beard is due back midweek. (With all her trash-talking about this Thursday's "game" against the EITM radio crew, let's hope she makes it back in time to back up all that talk with a little action!)

Siegel also notes that if DeLisha is, as anticipated, a no-show, then rookie Crystal Langhorne is expected to be a starter when the season begins. That's enormous pressure to put on any rookie, even one as talented as Lang. Fortunately for Crystal, all her Maryland fans, who by now should also be Mystics season-ticketholders (if you aren't one yet, click here), will, no doubt, support her through this challenging period of her new pro career.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Jon Siegel reports in today's Washington Times that DeLisha Milton-Jones no longer wants to play for the Mystics and has demanded that she be traded -- but only to a team she approves of -- or she will sit out the summer season. The BasketCases are glad that the long-rumored DMJ situation is now finally out in the open so that fans can see the extremely difficult situation that the Mystics have been facing.

As a cored but unsigned player, DMJ has every right under the Collective Bargaining Agreement to veto a trade, and according to the Times she did just that. Apparently, DeLisha would not agree to a proposed deal the Mystics had worked out with Minny, one that would have brought national player-of-the-year Candice Wiggins to D.C.

So there are at least two teams, the Mystics and Minnesota, that we now know DMJ doesn't want to play for. And we certainly get the impression there are plenty of others. Of course, if the Times is reporting this, you can be certain that GMs around the league are (and have been for some time) aware whether their team has made the cut on DeLisha's short list, making it harder for the Mystics to obtain real value for DMJ in a trade.

DeLisha is a veteran All-Star player. She shows up in shape; she puts out great effort on the court; she plays with emotion. She is extemely well-liked and a real favorite among Mystics fans. A player like that with so many plusses should garner exceptional value in return if traded. However, because other teams know when GM Linda Hargrove comes calling that DMJ may likely carry through with her threat not to play this summer, and know that the Mystics wouldn't be calling if their team weren't on the approved list, they are doing their best to steal an All-Star away for less than her full worth. Who can blame those teams for trying?

Anyway, it's sounding to the BasketCases like a lose-lose situation for the Mystics. Either accept a bargain-basement deal, possibly receiving a player in return who may do little or nothing to help the Mystics win (while DMJ will definitely help any team she is traded to!) or allow her to sit out the season, leaving the Mystics with nothing but a huge hole in the roster (but at least succeeding in keeping one of Washington's opponents from getting better at the Mystics' expense). Lose-lose.

And when the team loses (either games or trades), the fans lose too. According to DMJ's agent as quoted in the article, she has "personal issues" with the Mystics. We have no idea what those may be. As we've said, DMJ has been a fan (and BasketCases) favorite since arriving in our nation's capital. Last season, even when she struggled somewhat, she still continued to receive fan support and affection. While we understand players wanting to do what is best for their careers (after all, the WNBA is a business), we also feel, as fans, there's a bit of irony that despite the support the fans gave her last season, DeLisha would rather walk away than play for us, the fans, this summer in Washington. Ouch. DeLisha's agent says that DMJ "realizes" that what she is doing "puts Washington in a difficult situation." You can say that again.

Apart from the fact that the Mystics might lose a critical player, DeLisha's ultimatum has had an impact on other personnel decisions. As Linda Hargrove explains, the DMJ situation "affected what we did in the draft. It affected what we did in free agency. It has kind of affected every decision we made in the offseason."

The Sun's Nykesha Sales is sitting out this summer to recover from injuries. Some foreign WNBA players have missed all or portions of WNBA seasons during Olympic years in order to play with their national teams. But, to date, no American player that we're aware of has sat out a summer because she simply refused to play for the team that held her rights. As fans of the Mystics (and DeLisha!) we fervently hope this is one precedent DeLisha will not set.

Graphic courtesy of Washington Mystics
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In other Mystics news . . . Following her perfomance at Wednesday's open tryouts, local GWU star Sarah-Jo Lawrence was added to the Mystics' training camp roster. Congratulations and good luck to Sarah-Jo!

And speaking of training camp . . . when the doors open on Sunday, there won't be a single player on the court from the Mystics' 2007 roster. Those players are either rehabbing from off-season surgery, or still playing overseas, or, in the case of DeLisha Milton-Jones, see above. In her blog this week, Linda Hargrove candidly admitted of WNBA training camps that "This is always a difficult time for us as teaching is the focus but much of the teaching is done with players that ultimately won’t make our roster." The BasketCases are certainly looking forward to the return of the veterans and, of course, to Crystal Langhorne's return from Beijing, where she and former Maryland teammate Laura Harper start play tomorrow with the USA Senior National Team in the Good Luck Beijing Olympic warmup tourney. Good luck indeed!

Finally, don't miss Alana Beard's blog post today; it's hysterical!
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Friday Afternoon Update: Maryland Goings and Comings. Coach B announced this afternoon that Kat Lyons has been granted a release from the Maryland program. This comes as no surprise to fans who attended last Sunday's Maryland banquet, where Kat's unexplained absence was duly noted. Like Coach B, we wish Kat all the best.

Matt Bracken of the Baltimore Sun has a nice introduction of incoming Terp Dee Liles. You can find it here.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Maryland Team Banquet

The annual Maryland Women's Basketball Team Banquet was held this afternoon, and the BasketCases were among the very lucky fans to attend. We even had our own table!

Are these kids precious or what? Eight weeks old today, twins Tyler (on the left) and Markus (on the right) made their official public debut. As much interest as the Terps themselves generated, these two little cuties were probably the most photographed people in the room. And talk about well-behaved! The banquet went on for three hours, and there was not a peep out of the little guys.

The proud parents and the twins.

Every Maryland banquet has a silent auction, and this was no different. The photo on the left signed by the members of the USA Basketball Senior National Team and the Terps was one of the most popular items, and went for a hefty sum.

ESPN broadcaster and Maryland grad Pam Ward served as the Master of Ceremonies. In her remarks about the senior class, she spoke about how heavily recruited Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper had been by the traditional basketball powerhouses, and how, to our great good fortune, they both chose "the road less traveled."

Speaking of Crystal, apart from her almost too-numerous-to mention on-the-court accomplishments that Coach B recounted, she also described Crystal as a young woman of style and grace, the team Diva. When Lang joins the Mystics, she'll find self-appointed Divas Nikki Blue and Tamara James, but our money is on Lang to take the Diva title!

Coach B said that with Lang's graduation, Marah "Big Strick" Strickland will take over the Diva role. She certainly looked the part today.

Kristi Toliver and mom Peggy and sister Carli.

Sa'de told us that she is really looking forward to playing next season after a year of rehab. And we are certainly looking forward to seeing her on the court again.

Jade Perry's mom, Gwen, and Emery Wallace's dad.

In a room full of incredibly stylish and well-dressed young women, perhaps the most talked-about attire was Marissa Coleman's skirt. The folks at our table insisted that we post a picture, and so we have. When Marissa entered the room, there was much speculation about whether -- and how -- she would be able to sit down. Not to mention what her mother would think. Well, when we spoke to Mom Joni, her reply was "Wait till her father sees her!"

At last year's banquet, longtime Maryland fan Daphne started a tradition. She got Shay Doron, who had just been drafted by the New York Liberty, to autograph a WNBA ball. Daphne brought that very same ball today, and secured the autographs of the lastest Terps to join the pro ranks. First Harp . . .

. . . and then Lang.

Jade Perry has always been one of the Terps' most popular (and valued) players. We will really miss her!

Seniors Christie Marrone and Ashleigh Newman laughing about whether Marissa can sit down.

Maryland Athletic Director Debbie Yow visits the twins and does a little early recruiting for the men's basketball team. (And Marissa obviously was able to sit down.)

Rebounders Secretary Sharma Wright presents Coach B and Mark with $1,000 savings bonds for each of the twins, gifts from the Rebounders. Although the gifts had been in the works for months, with a solicitation for contributions right on the Rebounders web site AND on a very large poster prominently displayed at one of the socials with the team and coaches, Coach B was totally surprised today. (And if anyone from the NCAA is reading this, don't worry; as Sharma explained, the Rebounders were very careful to handle this without violating any of the NCAA rules.)

Marissa and her mom were totally taken with the twins. In fact, while Marissa's teammates were getting awards today for "Most Assists," "Most Blocks," "Best Free Throw Percentage" and the like, Coach B gave Marissa the "Best Diaperer Award."

Coach B and Mark learn that Marissa and Joni Coleman will not give them back the babies, which Drey Mingo finds very amusing!

As at every banquet, this one ended with a video tribute to the team and, in particular, to the extraordinary senior class, the winningest class in Maryland history. As Coach B said, only four teams during the college careers of these seniors won an NCAA Championship, and Maryland was one of them. That's an incredible accomplishment, and to say that these players will be missed is an understatement. Needless to say, there weren't too many dry eyes in the house by the end of the afternoon.

And this is where we'll see Lang and Harp. . . as the next chapter of their story is written.

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Reunited And It Feels So Good

After Stanford ended the Terps' season, it's quite possible that Maryland seniors Laura Harper and Crystal Langhorne wondered if they would ever play basketball together again. If so, the answer has come rather quickly.

On Friday, USA Basketball announced that Lang and Harp would "train and compete with" the Senior National Team (yes, the team from which our Olympic Team will be chosen) for the next couple of weeks. First, Lang and Harp head to Chicago for National Team training camp on April 13-15. Then it's on to China, where the National Team will play in the Good Luck Beijing Tournament from April 19-26 at the site of this summer's Olympic basketball games.

The schedule means that Lang will miss some of the Mystics' pre-season training camp. It's unfortunately pretty common, though, for many WNBA players to miss some or all of training camp, as they are finishing up their seasons in Europe and elsewhere. Quite frankly, from the BasketCases' perspective, Lang will be getting incomparable experience playing with such National Team members as Lisa Leslie, Katie Smith, and Swin Cash, not to mention from competing against some of the best players in the world, as Team USA takes on 2006 World Champion Australia and several other national teams in Beijing. Indeed, both Lang and Harp already have significant experience in international competition, most recently last summer when they won gold as members of the USA's U21 Team. Congratulations to Lang and Harp on being invited to play with the Senior National Team!

Seaking of reunions . . . The Mystics have signed former Terp/Purdue transfer Kalika France to a training camp contract. No guarantees that Kalika will actually make the Mystics' roster for the season, but this does mean that Kalika, who left Maryland for the Boilermakers after her junior year, has a chance to play again with Lang. And in a bit of trivia for Maryland fans . . . as we've heard the story, when Lang arrived on campus, she wanted to wear Number 24, but that number had already been taken by Kalika, then a sophomore. So Lang picked another number -- 1 -- and how appropriate that turned out to be!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Mystics Draft Day Party

The Mystics held their annual draft day party today at the Greene Turtle, the first time the event was held at this location. It's a sports bar, so there were TVs everywhere, and the place was festooned with Mystics balloons.

Plenty of fans arrived for the start of the party around noon, giving us all lots of time to have a little lunch, and, most important, to speculate and debate endlessly about who was likely to be picked by whom.

Bernice Mosby and Gillian Goring, both still recovering from off-season surgery, were on hand to welcome the fans, and wonder with us who their new teammates would be.

About a half hour before the draft got underway at 1PM, GM Linda Hargrove came over from the war room in the Verizon Center to address the crowd. After telling us very clearly that the Mystics would be using their first round pick to obtain the player who they thought would "best help the Mystics, now and in the future," and that this might not necessarily be "the person who would be the most popular," most of us believed that Linda was lowering expectations for the many Maryland/Mystics fans in the house (including the BasketCases). Really, pretty much everyone was certain that Linda was telling us that we could forget about Lang or Harp being chosen. Not because we didn't think either of them at the 6 pick would in fact be the person who could best help the Mystics, but the way Linda had seemed to eliminate the "popularity" of the pick really had most of us dead certain that the Mystics would not be picking a Terp.

So there was a good deal of gloom and doom until, about one minute before Donna O stepped to the podium to announce the Mystics' pick to the world, Bernice Mosby -- relaying word from the war room -- announced the pick to the fans at the party. When she said the Mystics were picking Crystal Langhorne, huge cheers of joy erupted, and continued long past the official announcement on TV. We hope that Lang is as happy to be a Mystic as the Mystics fans are to have her remain in D.C.

Not long after, when Sacramento selected Harp with the 10th overall pick, there were more loud cheers. The Monarchs are a terrific franchise, one of the BasketCases' favorites. Great players, great fans, and very supportive owners. It should be a wonderful place for Harp to be. (Apparently, Coach B agrees.) We're just sad that she'll be so far away! (Harp's already getting great press in her new home town. Debbie Arrington of the Sacramento Bee has paid Harp the great and well-deserved compliment of saying that she has "many of the same qualities" as former Monarchs superstar Yolanda Griffith, who recently signed with the Seattle Storm.)

We can't wait to see Lang in Mystics blue this summer. And for those of you who haven't yet circled the date on your calendars, the Monarchs play here in D.C. on June 11. But Lang and Harp will play each other before then, in a pre-season game on May 5 between the Mystics and the Monarchs that will in fact take place in Tampa. Road trip??

The Mystics used their second round pick (the 20th overall) to select Lindsey Pluimer, a forward from UCLA (and a former teammate of Mystics' Diva Nikki Blue), and their third round pick (the 34th overall) to acquire Krystal Vaughn, a forward from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Three schools had two players drafted today in the top ten, and Maryland was one of them. That's a pretty big deal. Congrats to Lang and Harp and to the entire Maryland program. And good luck to the Mystics!! Lang has already said, ""I'm going to try to help this team win a championship."

Photo credits: DC BasketCases



And Laura Harper was drafted by the Sacramento Monarchs!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Draft Day.

Stanford played nearly flawless basketball to advance to the National Championship game last night, and apparently saved up all the turnovers, poor shots, and big and little mistakes that plague even great teams in most games . . . for that one game. Unfortunately, that left the Cardinal vulnerable to the Lady Vols, as Tennessee took home another Natty, 64-48. It was a great run for Stanford, and the BasketCases look forward to seeing CandICE very soon in the WNBA.

We'll all learn in just a few hours exactly where CandICE, Harp, Lang and the other senior stars will be heading. As we wait, there's plenty to speculate about. It comes as no surprise to the BasketCases, for example, to read in Kathy Orton's article in today's Washington Post that Nikki Teasley's departure from the Mystics has D.C. re-thinking its draft strategy.

Previously, the Mystics were focused on getting a post player, but with the unexpected void at the point, Mystics GM Linda Hargrove has candidly acknowledged that the team is now looking more broadly. This means, of course, that Terps fans may not get to see Lang or Harp in Mystics blue this summer. However, it also means that we still may. We'll only know when Donna O steps to the podium early this afternoon. And we also think the Mystics could possibly announce a big trade that might have an impact on their draft position and/or their draft choice. Draft day is always full of surprises. We'll just have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, for those who'd like to examine some possible PG selections (in the event that's the direction the Mystics decide they need to go), Nancy Lieberman has an analysis here. And wherever Harp and Lang end up, it would indeed be shocking, as Milton Kent reports, if they were not both drafted in the first round. As Coach B says, “Both players are going to be tremendous professionals and will be able to make an immediate impact on whatever team they play for.”

Check back with us later as it all unfolds . . . Better yet, head over to the Greene Turtle at noon for the Mystics' Draft Day party!

Graphic courtesy of

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

It's Wonderful to be Wanted, but . . .

No doubt this is an anxious time for college senior basketball stars, including the Terps' own Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper (not to mention their fans!), as they all wait to hear WNBA President Donna Orender step to the podium and announce "With the __th pick in the 2008 WNBA draft, the (insert WNBA team name here) select (insert player name here) from (insert college name here)." Until that moment when she hears her name and her college and learns the identity of her new team, the next phase of a star senior's basketball career is still a big unknown.

But the seniors won't have long to wait. The WNBA college draft will be held tomorrow, with the first of three rounds kicking off at 1 PM EDT live on ESPN2. The last two rounds will be shown on NBA-TV. If you are lucky enough to live in the D.C. area and can slip away from your job or home responsibilities at lunchtime (of course, if work is a problem, don't forget there's always the "loose filling" defense to explain your going AWOL from the office), you can join other fans at the Mystics' annual Draft Day Party, which begins at noon over at the Greene Turtle Restaurant next door to the Verizon Center. GM Linda Hargrove and the Mystics' coaching staff will be on hand to announce the team's picks. That's as "live" as it gets, unless you are lucky enough to have been invited by Dr. J to her golf resort in Palm Harbor, Florida, where the draft is actually being held. (The BasketCases' invitation must have gotten lost in the mail, so like most of you, we will be following the big day's action from right here in D.C.)

Fortunately, Lang's and Harp's invites did not get mis-delivered. Crystal and Laura are among the 20 top prospects the WNBA has invited to be on hand live at Dr. J's place to hear their names announced in person. It should come as no surprise to Maryland fans that several other familiar ACC players are among the 20 invitees. That list includes UNC's Erlana Larkins and LaToya Pringle, UVA's Sharnee Zoll, and the Wolfpack's Khadijah Wittington.

The BasketCases have been on pins and needles looking forward to this draft. After the great pleasure of watching Harp and Lang for four years at Maryland, we are most anxious to learn where they will begin their pro careers. And, of course, there's the question of who the Mystics will select. Could Harp or Lang end up in Mystics blue? Only time will tell!

Washington has the 6th pick in the first round, as well as the overall 20th and 34th picks. There's always the possibility the Mystics could announce a last-minute trade involving one or more of their picks; draft day is always a big unknown right up until the end! Probably the only thing that won't be a surprise on Wednesday is the Los Angeles Sparks' using their number 1 pick to take Candace Parker.

So stop by the Green Turtle (noon), or tune in to ESPN2 (1 PM) and follow the action . . . and all the surprises of WNBA Draft Day!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

On To Tuesday.

In this evening's first national semi-final match, the Stanford Cardinal picked up right where they left off on Monday, with another great offensive effort, this one ending the season for the nation's overall #1 seed, Connecticut, 82-73. (Way to go, Stanford!) Candice Wiggins had another stellar outing, with 25 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists. (The BasketCases wish that a continent of time zones hadn't kept us from seeing more of Wiggins's college career. At least we'll soon see her in the WNBA.) The Cardinal will play the winner of the Tennessee-LSU semi-final going on right now, with the victor in that game taking home the Natty.

Congratulations to Stanford!

Photo Credit: Stanford University

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Monday Morning Update. Unfortunately, from the BasketCases' perspective, the other remaining #2 seed, LSU, fell two points short last night of knocking off the Lady Vols, as Tennessee snuck into the National Championship game with a 47-46 win over the Tigers. It was the lowest scoring game in Final Four history, not exactly the type of game most people (at least not the BasketCases) enjoy watching. Sylvia Fowles, though, was incredible on both ends of the floor, scoring 24 points and pulling down 20 rebounds. However, she and her teammates came up short on the free throw line, only hitting 7 of 19, allowing Tennessee to squeak by.

Stanford is certainly playing the best basketball of the tournament right now. While we wish Maryland were still in it, there is some small consolation to having lost to the one team that is simply playing so well. The BasketCases know what color we'll be wearing in front of our TV Tuesday night, and it isn't orange.

Two Down, One To Go!

No, the BasketCases are not suddenly abandoning women's basketball to blog about other sports. But if you happen to live in our national capital area, it cannot have escaped your attention that in the past two days, two of the three professional sports teams that call the Verizon Center home have secured playoff berths in their respective leagues!

On Friday night, with their 109-95 win over the Miami Heat, the Wizards guaranteed themselves post-season play for the fourth straight season.

And last night, with an exciting 3-1 victory at home over the Florida Panthers, the Caps won the Southeast Division of the NHL, sending the Caps to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in five years. We must say too that it was quite a thrilling visual scene at the sold-out Verizon Center, as Caps fans staged a "red-out."

Of course the third team that plays in the Verizon Center is, as our readers know, our very own Mystics. So obviously we are looking forward to the Mystics' completing the Phone Booth hat-trick later this summer by advancing to the WNBA playoffs, a trip that eluded them last season and indeed every odd-numbered year of their existence.

But the good news is that 2008 is an even-numbered year (a fact we verifed with our own on-staff accountant), which suggests that the future looks bright! (Hint to Dr. J: We loved Ted's color choice for the Caps' new Unis, and the BasketCases and lots of your other Mystics fans already have an affinity for red basketball attire.)

Congratulations to the Wizards! Congratulations to the Caps! Go Styx!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Crystal and Kristi . . .

This time of the year, awards to college basketball players are being handed out by a number of different organizations and publictions. While it's always a great honor to receive one, particularly an "All-American" designation, some of these awards, as George Orwell might put it, are more equal than others. And there's no question that the most prestigious "All-American" selection is to be named to the State Farm Coaches' All-America Basketball Team (formerly known as the Kodak All-America Team).

The BasketCases are therefore extremely happy to report that Crystal Langhorne and Kristi Toliver today received that great honor, as they were both named to the State Farm Coaches' All-America Team. There are only 10 players named to this team, which puts Lang and KT in some pretty exclusive company. It also means the Terps make up 20% of the team, a pretty darn good stat when you think about how many great Division-I teams (and players) there are out there!

The others named today to the All-America Team were Sylvia Fowles, Erlana Larkins, Angel McCoughtry, Renee Montgomery, Maya Moore, Courtney Paris, Candace Parker, and Candice Wiggins. This is a wonderful honor for Lang, KT, and everyone else on the Team, and we congratulate all of them! And an extra congratulations to Candice Wiggins, who was also named the Wade Trophy Player of the Year.

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More Honors. We're also very happy to report that Virginia high school senior and in-coming Terp Lynetta Kizer has been named to the AAA All-State Basketball Team. Congrats to Yah-Yah! (The BasketCases eagerly await the first social with the team next year, so that we can ask her about the origin of her nickname. Of course, if someone who knows would please post it here as a comment, that would be great too!)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

We Have Lift Off.

Just in time for next week's WNBA draft, today the Mystics launched their long-overdue long-awaited new and improved team web site.

You can find it at the same url on the Internet where the old one used to be -- right here -- so go check it out. The BasketCases think it's a great improvement over the old one, and we're looking forward to taking it for a real test drive as the season gets underway.