Friday, July 18, 2008

Vortex of Doom.

For 40 minutes tonight, the BasketCases (and, judging from our conversations, other Mystics fans) felt as though we'd been sucked down and swirled around in the "Vortex of Doom." The Mystics came out this evening to start their game against the Shock just where they'd left off last night in New York -- playing noncompetitive basketball. Before you could blink an eye, the Mystics were down 9-0, and they were never, ever, ever in the game.

While the fans at the Phone Booth were being spun around, over on a WNBA message board (Rebkell), fans watching the game on NBA-TV were debating whether the Mystics would hit 15 before the Shock scored 50, that's how noncompetitive the game was from start to finish. At the end of the first quarter, Deanna Nolan had scored 19 points while the entire Mystics team had 12. Embarrassing. At halftime, Detroit was ahead 55-27. Washington spent a good portion of the second half playing the Detroit bench and still managed to fall further behind, finally losing 99-62. The near record-setting margin would have been even greater had the Shock starters seen more minutes.

Some of the Mystics played their hearts out tonight . . . Taj being the best example. She always comes to play, and had 13 points and battled throughout. And Nikki Blue, the only other Mystics player in double figures, was obviously working hard, even urging her teammates to "keep fighting" as she left the court during a substitution (she put up 10 points). But some other players (we hate to admit) seemed to have checked out early. Our franchise player was MIA, scoreless until the third period, while our (supposed) second scoring option didn't hit a field goal until midway through the 4th quarter. And when the opponents' bench is outscoring you, on your own floor . . . well, that is simply unacceptable.

Yesterday's game in New York and tonight's against Detroit, on top of an already disappointing season, make it very clear that there is something very seriously wrong with the Mystics. It's not any one thing or any one person, but something is very seriously wrong with this franchise.

There's been a lot of talk of late by the front office about what it would take for this team to make the playoffs. Playoffs? Forget the playoffs!! Unfortunately, the bar needs to be set a little lower. What we'd like to see immediately is basketball that does not embarrass the fans or the Mystics players.

Is that too much to ask?

* * * * * * * *
On a far happier note . . . The USA Basketball U18 National Team has been right here in our nation's capital this week, practicing at the Verizon Center for its upcoming trip to Buenos Aires for the 2008 FIBA Americas Championship. USA Basketball's web site has a feature up today about U18 team member, Virginia native -- and incoming Terp -- Lynetta Kizer that is certainly a recommended read for Maryland fans. (BTW, how many days until Maryland's home opener?)


At 1:01 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I'm not going to compare my athletic pursuits to those of professional athletes, but I will say that I've played on my share of losing basketball teams and it is exhausting, humiliating, and depressing. So, in that sense, I really do feel bad for our team.

However, the lack of pride and - hell - SKILL and professionalism has been shameful. It's one thing to bust your ass and lose, but to bumble and sleepwalk through a game? I can't abide by that.

As I said when I talked to you tonight, I, too, try to stay positive about this team. I want to support it and I want it to succeed. However, tonight was the first night when I've really just sat with my mouth agape, with hardly a cheer escaping. The most jubilation in 110 was when the Mystics finally hit 50. WTF? We were all just exhausted and ready for the game to be over.

I'm just sad.

At 5:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My biggest cheer came after the PA announcer said, "One minute remaining in the quarter." As I was leaving, I spoke to a Mystics season-ticket holder of 11 years and she said this was her last season. It's awful.

At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel ashamed to say that for the first time ever, I left a game before the final buzzer. I just couldn't take it on top of all the worries in my life these past few weeks. That was just too much for me. The positive thing though is I spotted some of our Teprs team: KT, Emery, Marissa, Marah, Sade and Drey. That was a little silver lining. My head is already in College Park.

At 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel ashamed to say that for the first time ever, I left a game before the final buzzer. The positive thing though is I spotted some of our Maryland players: Kristi, Emery, Marissa, Marah, Sade and Drey. That was a little silver lining. My head is already in College Park.

At 12:38 PM, Blogger posting-up said...

Did you see this morning's Mystics Messenger? Hargrove fired Tree last night! Interim Head Coach is Jesse Kenlaw!

While I hate to see us go through another coaching transition, we have to do SOMETHING to get this team back in the game!

Best wishes to Jessie -- you go, grrrl!!

At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got the news about Tree. I also never like to celebrate people's failures, but agree that it is a good thing that he is gone. He did nothing during the game last night. Nothing. Not that our players were stellar, but with all the skill on our team, coaching has to play some part in our terrible performance.

While we are discussing what is wrong, what do we have to do to make sure we never have to sit through another half-time show of inappropriately dressed young people posing as a "dance troupe?" I was so offended by last night's show, both because of quality and presentation, that I almost left because of it.

At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So long, Tree, and good luck Jesse... you'll most likely need it.

Nikki Blue may have "played her heart out," but IMHO she still doesn't look anything like a point guard for a playoff-quality team.


At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, now that Tree is gone (I'm glad about that) who can the Mystics get for a new head coach (for next year)?
May be the fans can help them search for one.

At 4:37 PM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Anyone know how to reach Pokey Chatman?

-- BC

At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try It's worth a shot.


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