Sunday, July 20, 2008

We Needed That!

For the third game in a row, the Mystics spent most of the second half playing against their opponent's bench. But today, it was because the Mystics had put the game out of reach by early in the third quarter.

Yes, that's right, the Mystics came out of the blocks on fire this afternoon, and by halftime were ahead of Western-Conference leading Seattle by a score of 48-25. Seattle was unable to mount any early second half run, so they conceded the win to the Mystics, which meant that for most of the final 20 minutes, superstar starters Sue Bird, Sheryl Swoopes, Swin Cash, and Yolanda Griffith were parked safely on the visitor's bench. The final score of this Mystics rout was 89-57.

The victory by the Mystics snapped the Storm's 7-game winning streak. But most important, it started new Interim Head Coach Jessie Kenlaw off on the right foot (1-0) and provided a hugely needed emotional boost for the Mystics, their fans, and their owner. As the final buzzer sounded, Sheila Johnson ran onto the court to embrace Coach Kenlaw in a joyous hug.

The BasketCases found it particularly gratifying that Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who battled so hard in the recent losing efforts, today was the "star" of this oh-so-satisfying victory. Alana Beard scored the game's first bucket, but Taj took over from there to lead all scorers with 22 points. She hit early and often, helping the Mystics build that 23-point cushion they took into the locker room at halftime. But Taj's big game wasn't a solo effort. Alana, who's been troubled by turnovers this season, recorded a game high 9 assists vs only 1 turnover! And Taj was on the receiving end of quite of few of Alana's dishes. While AB didn't hit double figures (Mo Currie with 12 points was the only other Mystics player besides Taj who did), she certainly contributed significantly to the winning effort. Seven Mystics scored 8 or more points; turnovers were down; assists were up. This was a team victory . . . make no mistake about it.

The Mystics' next game is the annual "Camp Day" game at the Phone Booth this Wednesday at 11:30 AM against New York. Obviously, we're all hoping that Washington can carry today's energy, focus -- and teamwork -- into Wednesday's game and forward into the remainder of the season. For now, however, we are just feeling very good about today.


At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is the best game they have played all season. It looked like a huge weight was lifted off their shoulders today. They actually looked happy to play. The coach was taking to them when they came in and out of the game and continued delivering encouragement and instruction through each play. Very refreshing...

At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to keep pinching myself today - I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

Found this 2004 article on our new coach very informative:

At 10:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There definitely was an energy on this team that I hadn't seen in a VERY long time. They moved the ball VERY well on offense and were flying around the court defensively, preventing Seattle from getting any type of rhythm. VERY refreshing, indeed. By the way, sec 121, that's my section, too. Where are you?

At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I might add, though, that we're still giving up too many offensive rebounds and turning the ball over too often. Let's fix that because we won't have days like this all the time.

At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

19 steals. Love that Coach K told them to play defense or sit down. They needed that. Rollins used to leave players in when they were not showing up.

How about B-Mo?? She played HUGE!!

At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even thought Alana had another bad shooting game, she was absolutely ecstatic over the team success. I had not seen that smile in a looooong time.

As others have noted, Kinlaw clearly was engaged in the game from start to finish, giving group and personal instructions at every turn.

I do hope this is a sign of things to come.

(But I still think Linda must go!)

At 6:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll admit to wearing my Believe t-shirt to the grocery store yesterday, finally wanting someone to ask me how the team did.

At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, where's the bunny ratings???

At 4:26 PM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Re the "bunny ratings::

Charm thanks you for asking! After Friday's game, we were simply too depressed. And as for Sunday, all that counted was the game! :-)

-- BC

At 8:41 PM, Blogger Holli L. Holliday said...

I can't believed I missed. Why is our great games are not televised?


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