Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tempting Fate

COO Greg Bibb stopped by before tonight's game to ask the BCs if the Mystics had ever had a record of 10 and 5 before. Of course, to get to 10-5 tonight, the Mystics would need to beat their Eastern Conference nemesis, the Indiana Fever, in front of a national TV audience (as well as about 8,500 Washington fans in the Phone Booth). We teased Greg that he was tempting fate (and then we knocked on wood), but replied that we really couldn't remember the Mystics ever getting off to such a successful start.

Fortunately, Fate resisted Temptation tonight, and the Mystics held off the Fever in an exciting, down-to-the-final possession, down-to-the-final seconds battle, to record their 10th win of the season, 68-65, and hang on to 2nd place in the East (tied with Connecticut and 1 game ahead of Indy).

Since we were in the arena, we couldn't hear what the ESPN announcers were saying, but we have to believe that the network -- not to mention the WNBA -- had to have been pretty happy that they picked this game to feature in primetime this week. Indy up by 1 point after the 1st; Washington up by 1 at the half; Mystics up by 3 at the end of 3 . . . and then a wild, final period that saw the Mystics build a not-quite-double-digit cushion only to lose most of it in the final minutes. Anybody who turned this game off before the final buzzer is not a real basketball fan!

Last season, the Fever owned the Mystics (beating them in all 6 meetings, spanning the regular and post-seasons). With tonight's victory, the Mystics are now 2-0 against Indiana this year. Quite a turnaround! And one very big reason for the improvement: Katie Smith. Big game, big audience, big conference rival, going head-to-head against other veteran stars including Tamika Catchings, Katie Douglas and Tammy Sutton-Brown . . . the Mystics' Katie decided tonight would be a good night to show why she was such a sought-after free agent this off-season. Our Katie set the pace offensively (as well as handling some tough defensive assignments), finishing with a game-high 21 points. And her leadership was evident throughout.

Katie got help from (Player-Of-the-Week) Crystal Langhorne, who had another impressive performance. Against a Fever team known for aggressive, physical defense, Lang added to her streak of consecutive double-doubles (14 points and 10 rebounds). And with Mo Currie struggling, Marissa Coleman and Matee Ajavon both gave the Mystics good minutes off the bench . . . really helping the Mystics hold on to their lead.

Now that this one's in the books, we have to admit that 10-5 (whether or not it's a Mystics best) sounds great! In fact, 10 wins are as many as the Mystics had during the entire pre-Angela, pre-Julie (Vortex of Doom) summer of 2008. Five home wins in a row . . . it's been a fun month to be a fan at the Phone Booth. The Mystics, though, have no time to relax and enjoy their early season accomplishment. After playing 4 games in 6 days, the Mystics leave the high-90s of DC for the 100-plus summer temperatures of Arizona. They have a rematch with the Mercury in Phoenix on Thursday before traveling to Oklahoma on Friday to face the Shock in Tulsa on Saturday. Makes us exhausted just writing about this schedule!

Congratulations to the Mystics on tonight's win!

Go Mystics . . . beat the Merc and the Shock!

Monday, June 28, 2010


After the week she had, it was (as far as the BCs were concerned) a foregone conclusion that Crystal Langhorne would be named today the WNBA's Player-Of-the-Week.

Happily, the voters agreed . . . and indeed she was!

So it's official. Lang picks up her first ever (but we suspect, not her last ever) WNBA Player-Of-the-Week award!

Congratulations, Crystal! What a week!

Photo Credit: WNBA.com

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Update: Chat with Lang . . . On Tuesday at 1 PM ET, Crystal will be hosting a live chat on ESPN.com, here. Send your questions now!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Several hours before this afternoon's tip-off against the Phoenix Mercury, Crystal Langhorne tweeted, "so phx decided to bring the hot a** weather with them...going to be 100 2day...lawdamercyyyy..."

At the conclusion of the game, "lawdamercyyy" may have been on the lips of many in attendance -- including the Phoenix players and plenty of Mystics fans -- but we wouldn't have been referring to the heat outside. No, we would've been talking about the heat generated inside by Crystal, as she led her team to a blistering 95-85 win over the defending WNBA champions!

After a career high on Thursday (27) and a double-double, followed by a near-career performance on Friday (25) and another double-double, what could Lang possibly do today for an encore? Well, she could -- and did -- score 31 points (13 in the first quarter), a new career high, and she pulled down 10 boards for yet another double-double. Lawdamercyy!

The BCs watched Lang play for four years at Maryland and this is our third summer watching her play at the Verizon Center, yet Lang still finds ways to surprise and amaze us . . . as she did today. [Note to Donna O: If Lang isn't selected tomorrow as the WNBA Player of the Week, then we demand a recount!]

But as incredible as Lang's numbers were, you can't win against the high-octane Mercury without a total team effort. And that's exactly what the Mystics used to beat Phoenix and notch their 4th consecutive home victory. Lindsey Harding (who also continues to amaze us) added 24 points (just 3 points shy of her career best)! Meanwhile, Kia (12) and Mo (10) also finished in double figures. And Katie Smith, who (along with Matee) drew the assignment of trying to contain (the uncontainable) Diana Taurasi, chipped in 7 points plus 6 assists, while only committing 1 foul. In other words, all 5 starters contributed to today's win. (As for Taurasi, we certainly hope she bounces back quickly from the hard fall she took during today's game.)

After 3 games in 4 days, the nine Mystics still healthy enough to play have little time to rest as they face the always tough Indiana Fever at the Phone Booth on Tuesday . . . 4 games in 6 days! It'll take another team effort to beat Tamika Catchings & Company . . . let's hope the Mystics can maintain their home-momentum and get an important in-conference win.

Go Mystics . . . Beat Indy!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Friday, June 25, 2010


The Mystics' win streak came to a slightly embarrassing end tonight as they fell to the Sky in Chicago, 79-72.

We missed seeing the good part of the game (the part where the Mystics built a 13-point lead) as "Live" Access was decidedly dead for most of the first half. Just our luck that almost exactly when the video arrived, the Mystics' lead began slipping away.

Here's the executive summary of why the Mystics lost: 1) they turned the ball over 18 times, resulting in 21 Sky points off TOs; 2) they shot an abysmal 4-21 from behind the arc; and 3) they committed 22 fouls, leading to 22 Sky points from the line. Ooops.

Crystal Langhorne had another nearly-career night in a losing effort -- she led all scorers with 25 points and she led all rebounders with 13. Lindsey Harding (13) and Mo Currie (12) also finished in double figures for Washington. But it wasn't enough to offset all the mistakes, and so the win-streak ends at 4 and the Mystics lose a little ground to some other Eastern Conference teams who won their games tonight.

Not much more to say about this one . . . except that we hope the Mystics will be more successful in limiting their mistakes when they face the high-scoring, defending WNBA champions, the Phoenix Mercury, on Sunday at 4 PM at the Phone Booth. See you there.

Go Mystics! . . . Beat the Mercury!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Great Win . . . and Wall!

While many basketball fans around the DC-area were partying while watching tonight's NBA draft, the Mystics and their fans were busy holding their own party right inside the Verizon Center. A Washington #1 pick (albeit not #1 overall) led the Mystics to a decisive win over the visiting Los Angeles Sparks, 68-53.

Wizards fans (including plenty of us in the Phone Booth) were celebrating what we hope will be the future greatness of #1 John Wall. Meanwhile, Mystics fans saw some greatness on display in the person of Crystal Langhorne, who had a career-night, not just in points scored (27), but also in notching her first ever WNBA three-pointer!

Yes, the same Crystal Langhorne who in college practically never took a shot further than a few feet from the basket. That Crystal Langhorne, tonight, with about a minute left in the game and the shot clock winding down, swished a beautiful trey! The fans erupted, Lang's teammates cheered, and Lang herself smiled, looking a bit sheepish, almost like she was thinking, "Did I really just do that?" It was a fitting end to her impressive night's performance, and a fun ending to what, for the most part, was a pretty enjoyable game.

Lang not only hit a career high and led all scorers tonight, but, taking full advantage of Candace Parker's absence, she dominated in the paint, posting a double-double before halftime. She finished the game with 14 rebounds to go along with her 27 points. Lindsey Harding was the only other Mystic in double figures (16).

Adding to the enjoyment, for those of us who are also Terps fans, Kristi Toliver led the Sparks with 11 points, nailing several threes as we've seen her do so many times. Before the game, we were hoping that KT would have a good outing, but that the Mystics (of course) would win. We got our wish.

Since Basketball is Basketball, it came as no surprise that the fans in the Phone Booth were also interested in what was happening with the NBA draft. The Wizards' pick of John Wall was shown on the Megatron during a time out and the arena erupted in cheers. That was followed by a cool video of notable Washingtonians doing the John Wall Dance, including Dr. J, a few Mystics, and plenty of other sports celebrities, welcoming Wall to Washington . . . more cheers. And then we were told that following the game, every one of the more than 8,000 fans in attendance would get a free "Wall: Game Changer" T-shirt. (Which we did.) Who doesn't love a free T-shirt? If this is an example of that cross-marketing that Ted Leonsis promised, then we like it already!

Tonight's win was the fourth in a row for the Mystics, their longest win streak in several years. They'll look to extend that streak tomorrow night in Chicago when they take on the Sky at 8:30PM ET in the second half of a back-to-back.

Go Mystics . . . Beat the Sky! (And Welcome John Wall!)

Jam Packed

During the first 23 days of June, the Mystics played a grand total of 4 games. Even with a back-to-back thrown in, that was a pretty leisurely schedule. But now the Mystics hit a jam packed part of their calendar. Over the course of the next 6 days, Washington will play as many games as they've played in the last three weeks, starting with tonight's match at home against the Sparks. Then the Mystics hit the road to take on the Sky tomorrow in the Windy City (the third game in as many weeks against Chicago), and then head back to the Phone Booth to play Phoenix on Sunday and Indy on Tuesday. Whew!

Both the Mystics and the Sparks will be playing with depleted rosters tonight, as L.A.'s Candace Parker is out for the remainder of the season because of her bad shoulder and will in fact be having surgery soon. (We wish her a speedy recovery!) The Mystics, of course, are missing Alana Beard and Jacinta Monroe, and will need all the help they can get from everyone else, including veterans Nakia Sanford and Chasity Melvin, who are the subjects of a very flattering profile in the Post today, here.

Speaking of veterans, the Sparks are jam packed, as their roster includes Tina Thompson (the only player left in the WNBA who played during the league's first season back in 1997), as well as former Mystic DeLisha Milton-Jones, Ticha Penicheiro and Betty Lennox, each of whom has played in the league for more than a decade. (As Terps fans, we'd be remiss if we didn't also mention league "sophomore" Kristi Toliver, making her first appearance in Washington with her new team after being traded by the Sky.) The short-handed Mystics will definitely have their work cut out for them tonight!

See you at 7 at the Phone Booth!

Go Mystics! Beat L.A.!

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Breaking" News . . . For those, like the BCs, who noticed that rookie Jacinta Monroe did not play during the second half of Saturday's game and in fact was wearing what appeared to be a splint on her left hand, we now know why. Jacinta fractured her hand at some point during the first half! Ugh! The Mystics have just reported that Jacinta successfully underwent surgery today to repair the fracture and is expected to "return to basketball activities in 6-8 weeks."

Needless to say, we are really bummed out by this news and wish Jacinta a very speedy recovery!

(And in case anyone is counting, that leaves the Mystics with only 9 active players.)

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases
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Tuesday morning happier reading . . . . this article about Crystal Langhorne in the Washington Post.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


After suffering through last night's Mystics game, the BasketCases deserved to have a little fun today . . . and we did! Despite some late blogging after the OT win at the Phone Booth, we still managed to get up bright and early this morning for the drive to Columbia, Maryland for the University of Maryland Rebounders' First Annual Miniature Golf Day, at the Columbia Sports Park.

The event was held to benefit the Women's Basketball Program, and lots of Terp celebrities -- and plenty of fans of Terps' basketball -- participated. Some of the "celebs" were stationed at one hole all day to play with everyone who came through. Others, like Coach B, Lang and Marissa, had been "auctioned off" to play the full 18 holes with the highest bidder. After all, this wasn't just a fun event, but a fundraising event as well.

The course was wonderfully decorated with Terps gear by the volunteers, and the owners of the course took it upon themselves to replace the normal blue flags with specially-ordered Terrapin-red ones for all the holes (thank you!).

They even dyed all the water on the course red (either that or the BP oil spill has drifted farther north than anyone has reported before today).

Newly-installed Hall of Fame Coach Chris Weller was on hand to welcome everyone (and to receive loud congratulatory cheers from the boosters). After she kicked things off, she then moved to the 1st hole, where, as one of the celebrity golfers, she graciously played and/or chatted with every foursome. (Who needs to pay a fortune for a Pro Am when you can play with a Hall-of-Famer at a Rebounder mini-golf!)

Sponsors got to have their names on the tee signs. We were impressed that Markus and Tyler Thomas -- at the age of two -- saved enough from their allowances to sponsor a tee sign wishing their Dad a Happy Father's Day.

The weather was sunny and brutally hot, well into the 90s, but fortunately there were patches of shade to be found on the course. It also helped that the Rebounder volunteers who planned the event (and did a phenomenal job . . .thank you Daphne and Co!) had ice buckets well-stocked with water bottles all over the course. Such planning and attention to detail helped ensure that the day was fun and that nobody suffered from dehydration.

Like the twins, the BCs also sponsored a hole (Number 11). But on this wonderful course we had a great time today playing all the holes, especially since we were paired with two of our favorite professional golfers Maryland fans. The other two members of our foursome even brought their own putters! But their clubs were no match for the pastel, plastic-covered putters provided by Columbia Sports Park. Nope. Our pastel putters had nice little lines etched into the plastic that showed you where to line up the ball. It worked every time. One of the BCs even hit a hole-in-one!

The course "hazards" were appropriately identified. Here the signs communicated that it would be a good idea to avoid dukies and Tarheels.

Lunch was served between the morning and afternoon tee times. After lunch, Coach B, Laura Harper, and other dancers wowed the crowd with the Cha Cha Slide. Their dance moves helped raise an additional $500 for the Terps' basketball program. The performance was definitely worth the extra money we all ante'd up!

Question: What do these 5 women have in common? Answer: A National Championship ring . . . plus that they love, and are loved by, Maryland Women's Basketball!

Although it was Father's Day, today was also a good day to spend quality time with Mom, as Jade Perry did with her mother, Gwen.

Maryland Women's Basketball, past and present. Days like this remind us of just how lucky we are to be fans of a program with such a great tradition and with folks like these . . . folks who are so welcoming, so accessible . . . and so talented. Just look at this lineup of baskeball celebs who volunteered to spend a hot Sunday outdoors to raise money for the program and to help fans/boosters enjoy this event: Rear, left to right: Coach Chinn, Jazz Perazic, Crystal Langhorne, Coach B, Marissa Coleman, Laura Harper, Lori Bjork, Coach Langley, Lynetta Kizer. Front, left to right: Subrena Rivers, Sonia Chase, Jade Perry, Ashleigh Newman, Kim Rogers and HOFer Coach Weller. Wow!

Again, thanks to all the Rebounders who put so much effort into finding the perfect venue, planning the event, and pulling it off so seamlessly. Everything ran so smoothly, you would have thought they'd been holding this event for years! Fortunately, the event was so successful, it probably will be held for years to come. Yay! A great day -- lots of fun -- we can hardly wait to do it again next summer!

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases

Saturday, June 19, 2010

We Heard A Whole Lot of Laughing after the horn sounded to end the overtime period tonight, as the Mystics needed 45 minutes to beat the Chicago Sky, 65-61.

We heard (laughing) comments like, "Can you believe we won that game?" and "Wasn't that a stinker?" Not to mention that one fan confessed to us she was hoping that the first team to score 50 points would be awarded the victory . . . so that she and the rest of the fans at the Phone Booth could be put out of their misery. Yes, it really was that bad. But, hey, the Mystics won . . . so it might've been bad, but it was also very very good. The Mystics, once again, defended (sorta, technically) their home court and have moved to 7-4. Yay!

As for that stinker thriller of a game: the Mystics scored 9 points in the first quarter. Nine points. They followed that up with a BIG 11-point second quarter. Twenty points in the first half? Wow . . . now that's excitement for you. The only saving grace was that Chicago didn't really capitalize. The Sky may have taken a 12-point lead into the locker room at the break, but their 8-point third quarter allowed the Mystics to get right back into the game with a 20-point quarter of their own. At the end of three periods, the score was tied at. . . are you ready? Forty points. As the final quarter was winding down, Washington needed some last minute heroics to tie the game in regulation at 52. That's right, each team scored an amazing 12 whole points in that fourth quarter! But in overtime, the Mystics struck first and never relinquished the lead. Whew. Mystics win!

When it (finally) ended, the fans were happy, laughing . . . and busy shaking their heads as they headed for the exits. Most of us have seen the Mystics play several times this season. We knew that the 24 turnovers, 22 personal fouls and only 33% shooting wasn't typical of this team. And it was a dub. . . so we could laugh.

A few positives. Katie Smith is a total competitor, winner, and much-needed leader. She shared game-high scoring honors with Sylvia Fowles (17 points). She was playing in pain. The Mystics would not have won without her on the floor tonight. Matee Ajavon is a relentless and fearless player, a HUGE spark off the bench. She had 10 points and 4 steals, including one in the final 20 seconds of regulation that was instrumental in tonight's win. Nakia was the only other Mystic in double figures (10), and her defensive battle against the taller Fowles was enormous.

Overall, though, the game really was a stinker. Not great basketball. And not-so-great officiating either. As our readers know, we don't usually complain about the refs, but they were stinky tonight too.

Speaking of stinky, we have someone else to single out: The Mystics' new in-arena announcer, Ralph, is really getting on our nerves. He's one of those announcers who draws out a player's name for an e-ter-ni-tyyyyyyyyyy after a made basket, and who has a number of other loud vocalisms we find annoying. He seemed to have dialed it back a little at the last game (after a number of complaints), but reverted to his old (and obnoxious) form tonight. Not to mention that late in the game, with the Sky inbounding the ball, Ralph bellowed "7 seconds on the clock." Now, unless that's some WNBA requirement, why would you want to alert your opponent that their shot clock is down in the single digits? Doesn't make any sense to us. (Thanks a lot, Ralph.)

The Mystics' next game is at home on Thursday at 7PM against Los Angeles. The Sparks will be playing without superstar Candace Parker, who needs shoulder surgery and unfortunately will miss the remainder of the season.

Go Mystics! Beat L.A.!

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And a Belated Congratulations to . . .

. . . former Maryland Head Coach Chris Weller, who was inducted last week into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville. What a tremendous, and well-deserved, honor! Coach Weller was recognized by the Mystics on the court tonight for her elevation to Hall of Fame status. Vicky Bullett came in from West Virginia to help honor her former coach, and Christy Winters Scott, another former Terp who played for Coach Weller, had a shorter trip . . . she stepped away from the TV announcers' table to help with the honors as well. Congratulations, Coach Weller!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Holy Cow. How Cool is This?"

That's Ted Leonsis's reaction to the fact that he now owns three professional sports teams . . . and the arena they play in. The excitement and joy that so clearly comes through in that statement was abundantly evident tonight as Ted and two of his partners, Rick Kay and Raul Fernandez, hosted several hundred Wizards, Caps and Mystics fans at the Verizon Center for a "Town Hall Meeting."

Ted, introduced to the crowd while "We Are Family" played in the background, spent the better part of an hour talking about his vision for the three teams and candidly answering fans' questions. It should come as no surprise to anyone given the success that Ted has made of the Caps to learn that Ted has spent a great deal of time studying not only the business of sports but also what has made teams successful on the court and on the ice.

Ted shared that his philosophy -- developed from looking at the most successful NBA teams -- is to build through the draft, develop the young players, and then use trades and free agency to fill in the missing pieces. His goal for all three teams is for each of them to become what he called "generational teams" -- teams that can be counted on to make the playoffs year after year after year. And the Caps are already on their way: Ted said that there's now a waiting list of nearly 3,000 people who'd like to buy season tickets.

The Mystics have a long way to go before they have that welcome problem. When asked about the limited media coverage given to the Mystics, Ted said that the Mystics play "a very good brand of basketball" and that "the mainstream media doesn't give it the respect it deserves." He said it takes time for a sport to become mainstream, and that the WNBA faces the additional challenge of playing in the summer. He praised the WNBA's new marketing campaign, "Basketball is Basketball." (We like it too . . . sure beats "Expect Great.")

Naturally, a fan asked about getting back to "the red, white and blue" -- the colors the Bullets wore when they won the NBA Championship back in 1978. Ted said "it's important to us," we're in the nation's capital," and "I would expect we'll go to that." So, Mystics fans, don't be surprised to see a little red appear on new Mystics gear in another season or two!

And proving that no detail is too small for the new owner of the arena -- a building that Ted said he'd like to see become "the greatest public space in the city" -- Ted volunteered that after reading a certain "female blogger" he made a point of personally walking through the women's rooms on the main concourse this afternoon and counted nine broken latches on the stalls. He's promised to have them fixed before the next game. Now that's action! (And, he also said he's sending Rick and Raul up to the 400 level to check those stall doors, too.) Thanks, Ted!

Seriously though, as moderator Steve Buckhantz (the Wizards' play-by-play announcer) said at the top of the evening, how often do fans get to play "Ask the Owner"? In most cities, probably not very often. But we, the fans, had that opportunity tonight, and we, the BCs, probably weren't the only fans who left thinking, "how cool is this?"

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An Invitation From Ted

It's not often that the Chairman of a major sports empire invites the fans over for a chat. But ever since Ted Leonsis and his partners (already the owners of the Mystics and the Caps) took over full ownership last week of the Wizards and the Verizon Center, Ted's been making himself even more accessible to fans than he already has been.

Last night, Ted held a meeting with Wizards fans, and he's now invited Mystics fans over to the Phone Booth for a "Town Hall Meeting" this Thursday at 7 PM to respond to fans' questions and comments. Ted has famously said that he does not consider the Mystics to be a stepchild to the Wizards any more than he loves his daughter less then he loves his son, and we believe that's true.

So if you're a Mystics fan and you have some questions or suggestions for Ted, RSVP for the Town Hall Meeting here, and head on over to the Phone Booth on Thursday evening. Apparently, no issue will be too small to discuss -- Wizards fans have already suggested to Ted that the mustard and ketchup containers at the Verizon Center be refilled! (Hmm . . . our wish list would include fixing the latches on the stalls in the women's rooms so the doors stay closed!)

While we don't minimize the importance of condiments (or bathroom doors), what we're really looking forward to hearing more about is Ted's (and Sheila's) vision for the Mystics and how the Mystics now relate to their brother-teams, the Wizards and the Caps. See you Thursday!

Photo Credit: Donna Parry

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Double the Fun

We can't remember the last time we saw handfuls of Mystics fans leaving the Phone Booth with about four minutes left in the game . . . and the Mystics ahead. That's because it's been a long time since fans could really relax and enjoy the fourth quarter of a game the way we could tonight, as the Mystics totally dominated the New York Liberty from start to finish, notching a decisive win, 82-65.

Mystics fans who sat through a low resolution feed on WNBA Live Access last night from Chicago had fun watching the first half of Washington's weekend back-to-back, and tonight the Mystics treated their fans to an evening of in-person fun, picking up right where they left off last night with excellent (and balanced) shooting -- from the floor (56%) and from the free throw line (84%). They also took extremely good care of the basketball, turning it over only 9 times, while playing excellent, hustling defense against the Liberty, who committed 24 TOs, leading to 34 Mystics points.

Every player on the Mystics roster played tonight, and every player scored. That included rookies Ashley Houts and Jacinta Monroe, who both gave the team some good minutes off the bench. Jacinta used her size well. It's fun to see someone on the Mystics able to grab a rebound because she's taller than everyone else on the floor . . . usually our posts are the undersized players fighting for position among the taller trees.

Once more, Monique Currie was virtually unstoppable, tying Cappie Pondexter for game high honors with 20 points (including a perfect 6 of 6 free throws). Mo also had 6 steals and 4 assists -- quite an impressive stat line for the night! Mo's outstanding performances are getting to be a habit . . . hopefully one she won't be breaking any time soon! And the usually reliable Lang, who struggled a bit against Chicago last night, must've gotten her milk before tonight's game . . . because she bounced back into double figures, with 13, and just missed a double-double, finishing with a game-high 9 boards. Also, for the second night in a row, Matee was a huge spark off the bench, scoring 13 points and harassing New York with her relentless defense (which resulted in 3 steals).

Finally -- playing on her 26th birthday -- Lindsey Harding was the fourth Mystics player to finish in double figures (13). What better present could there be for Lindsey than back-to-back wins . . . the second one another big win against a conference rival, on her birthday, in front of cheering home-town fans?

Happy Birthday, Lindsey, and congratulations to the Mystics on their two dubs and a doubly-fun weekend of basketball!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Easy as One-Two-Three

All the Mystics had to do to grab a 95-78 road victory against the Chicago Sky this evening was:

1) Allow their 1-guard, Lindsey Harding, to slice through the Sky defense time and again to score in transition, plus knock down a couple of big threes, to lead all scorers with a blistering (season high) 25 points!

2) Then bring in their reserve 2-guard, Matee Ajavon, to add 14 points (including several off-balance, heading to the foul-line, circus-quality buckets) and plenty of offensive and defensive energy that helped the Mystics keep the Sky off balance.

3) And, of course, have Mo Currie, the Mystics' starting 3, put in another strong performance (as she's done several times already this season), finishing with 22 points plus plenty of other good stuff on her stat line.

Easy as 1-2-3!

The resolution of the Live Access feed from Chicago was quite poor (we sometimes found ourselves wondering where the ball was), but as Mystics fans, there was little else to complain about tonight. Thanks to the sharpshooting of the Mystics' backcourt trio -- and that of Nakia, who added 10 points -- Washington shot over 61% from the floor (including 64% from beyond the arc). The Mystics also out-rebounded the Sky 31-19, limiting Chicago to a single shot on most possessions. Those would be impressive numbers against any opponent, but they are particularly impressive against a team that includes 6'6" Big Syl on its roster.

When perimeter players are racing up the court in transition and knocking down jumpers or driving inside (somtimes against much bigger players) and scoring there as well . . . and the team nearly ends up in triple digits, it's a fun game to watch, and that's what tonight's game was, fun.

Now we just hope the Mystics aren't too tired from tonight's effort (or too relaxed after securing an important road win) because, as our readers know, the team has to turn around quickly, get back to D.C., and play New York tomorrow night at 7 PM. The Liberty also played the first half of their back-to-back earlier, defeating Atlanta tonight in Madison Square Garden by a score virtually identical to that of the Mystics-Chicago match, 91-79.

Go Mystics! Beat New York!


After being idle for nearly a week, the Mystics return to the court this evening in Chicago, where they take on the Sky at 8:30 PM ET. Both teams are coming off losses --- the Mystics on Saturday to Atlanta, and the Sky on Tuesday to New York.

Speaking of the New York game, whatever happens in the Windy City tonight, the Mystics have to hustle home to play the Liberty at the Phone Booth on Saturday at 7 PM. Typical WNBA scheduling -- six days off, then fly home for the second half of a back-to-back tipping off about 20 hours after the first game ended. (New York will also be playing the second half of their own back-to-back, as they face the Dream this evening in the Big Apple.)

Tonight's Mystics v. Chicago game will be streamed on WNBA Live Access. (Here's hoping the video doesn't freeze!) On Saturday, those of you in the Greater DC area who can't make it to the New York game are in luck -- Comcast SportsNet will be broadcasting that one!

Go Mystics! Beat the Sky . . . and the Liberty!

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In other Mystics news . . . Ted Leonsis announced yesterday that Sheila Johnson, in addition to continuing in her role as President of the Mystics, will serve as a Vice Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the newly-created organization that now officially owns the Verizon Center as well as the Mystics, Wizards, and Caps. Congratulations, Dr. J!

The new joint ownership means that the Mystics' owners will control the programming schedule for the arena (which we hope means no more dino-displacements during playoff games). And in other good news, Ted said in an email to Mystics fans that he hopes "to be able to offer terrific new cross-marketing opportunities to our fans." (As old timers, we remember really cheap Wizards tix and freebie Caps tix being offered to Mystics fans when Abe Pollin owned all three teams. Free Caps tix are certainly a thing of past, but other cross-promotions are OK by us!)

And it's no secret that Ted, who acknowledges being "partial to red," is considering a red, white and blue color makeover for the Wizards . . . and that could possibly mean one for the Mystics as well. It might be time for some new Mystics T-shirts! Rock the Red, White and (Mystics) Blue!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

One that Got Away

We have to admit that we were more than a little apprehensive as we headed to the Phone Booth this evening. The Mystics would be facing the Conference-leading Atlanta Dream for the first time this year. Atlanta started the season by reeling off six straight wins, before picking up two losses this week. So the Dream were coming into tonight's game eager to snap that losing streak and get back on track. Not only that, but Atlanta is a BIG team (four players 6'4" or taller), not to mention athletic and talented, making them a tough opponent no matter when you play them.

But early on, the Mystics showed no signs of sharing our anxiety. Somehow, someway, the smaller Washington team managed to contain the Dream for the first three quarters . . . thanks in large measure to the Mystics' own (not quite so big) post players --Lang, Kia, and Chas -- and the play of PG Lindsey Harding. In fact, the Mystics led by 10 at one point during the third quarter, and were up by 8 as the final period began.

But the Mystics were unable to contain the Dream during the fourth quarter. As Atlanta repeatedly pounded the ball inside and scored, Washington's lead slipped away. With about 20 seconds left in the game, the Dream were up by 3 and things were looking grim for the Mystics, but Matee Ajavon hit a clutch 3-pointer (one of only 2 shots made from beyond the arc by the Mystics tonight) to tie the game at 75 and send it into overtime.

Unfortunately, the Mystics saved their worst basketball for the extra period. Although they had taken relatively good care of the ball for the 40 minutes of regulation, they were not able to hang onto it during the OT . . . they had as many turnovers in that extra five minutes as they had points. The Dream capitalized on Washington's turnovers, outscoring the Mystics 11-4 during OT and left with the win, 86-79.

It was an exciting game to watch (at least for the first 40 minutes), but of course disappointing in the end for the Mystics and their fans. Five Mystics finished in double figures, led by Lang, who tied for game-high honors with 23 (also tying her career high). With the exception of Lindsey, who hit 50% from the field and scored 14 points, the Mystics' guards suffered from subpar nights (all hit 30% or less). And between the OT TOs and the poor perimenter shooting, the Mystics allowed the chance to gain ground on the conference leader to slip away. Come playoff time, close losses -- at home -- like these are what dreams nightmares are made of.

Next up for the Mystics is a trip to Chicago for a Friday matchup against the Sky, who've won their last four games after a slow start. Then on Saturday, the Mystics return home to face the Liberty again at 7 PM at the Phone Booth.

Go Mystics . . . Beat the Sky (and then the Liberty)!

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Sunday Morning Update . . . . In addition to her game story, which we've linked above, Katie Carrera has a blog post, here, containing post-game quotes from some of the Mystics. Ironically, the players who are the harshest on themselves are Lang, Kia, and Chas, the players most responsible for keeping the team in the game last night and nearly getting the win. We appreciate that despite their own considerable efforts, they were not satisified with the outcome. We hope that the players whose contributions last night were lacking are likewise engaged in some self-critiquing today.