July 28, 2017

Washington Mystics Game 16 Wrap: Mystics’ win streak goes to four with rout of Seattle

Fresh off a week’s rest for the all-star game, the Washington Mystics improved their home record to 6-3 with an 87-74 win over Seattle in a Wednesday matinee at Verizon Center.

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Mystics Acquire Second Round Pick in 2015 WNBA Draft

Mystics Press Release Logo

MYSTICS ACQUIRE SECOND ROUND PICK IN 2015 WNBA DRAFT
Team Trades Quanitra Hollingsworth to Seattle

Washington, D.C. – The Washington Mystics have acquired the Seattle Storm’s second round pick (15th overall) in the 2015 WNBA draft in exchange for center Quanitra Hollingsworth and Washington’s second round pick (20th overall).

“This trade gives Quanitra the opportunity to be part of a team where she will have more playing time,” stated head coach Mike Thibault. “It also gives us another draft pick that will allow us to take a player that we can possibly develop for the future.”

Hollingsworth was acquired in a trade with the New York Liberty in 2013. She missed the 2014 season due to an overseas commitment. She appeared in seven games with the Mystics, averaging 1.7 points per game and 1.4 rebounds per game.

Washington currently holds the 8th, 15th and 32nd picks in the upcoming WNBA draft.

The Washington Mystics will tip off the 2015 season on the road against conference rival Connecticut Sun on Friday, June 5, at 7 p.m. Following their season opener, the Mystics will return to Verizon Center for their home opener to face the New York Liberty on Saturday, June 6 at 7 p.m. Season tickets for the 2015 season are currently on sale and can be purchased by calling the Mystics Sales Office at 1-877-DC-HOOP1 or by visiting the Mystics web site at www.washingtonmystics.com.

Washington Mystics exercise options on Hill and Meeseman

From the press release:

Washington Mystics Head Coach Mike Thibault announced today that the team has exercised the fourth-year contract option on players Tayler Hill and Emma Meesseeman.

“It is an easy decision to pick up the 2016 option for Emma and Tayler,” said Thibault. “They are a big part of what we are trying to build here for the future of this team. We are looking forward to continued improvement by both of these good young players. ”

Thibault also announced that Kalana Greene and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt would be re-signed for training camp as well as the addition of Kayla Thornton to the training camp roster.

A guard from Ohio State University, Hill was selected in the first round of the 2013 WNBA draft (fourth overall) by the Washington Mystics. Her career averages are 5.8 points per game and 1.5 rebounds per game.

A native of Belgium, Meesseman joined the Mystics as a free agent in 2013. She was a candidate for Most Improved Player in 2014 and led the team in rebounding per game (6.4) and was second on the team in points per game (10.1)

Returning to the team as free agents are veteran guard Greene who saw action in 20 games in 2014 and forward Ruffin-Pratt who played in every game and averaged 4.5 points per game.

Thornton was on the Mystics training camp roster last season and spent the 2014 season playing in Israel where she led the league in points per game (20.1) and was ranked fourth in rebounds per game (11.5).

The Washington Mystics will tip off the 2015 season on the road against conference rival Connecticut Sun on Friday, June 5, at 7 p.m. Following their season opener, the Mystics will return to Verizon Center for their home opener to face the New York Liberty on Saturday, June 6 at 7 p.m.

District Sports Page introduces new Twitter and Facebook icons

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District Sports Page is proud to announce our new Twitter and Facebook icons. These babies were professionally produced by Brendan Sheridan of Capitals Hill and purveyor of fine photoshops, gifs and memes all over the Internets.

All of the new logos are based on the same theme and replace our random collection of semi-ironic, attempt at humor or just plain ripping-off-the-teams-we-cover logos and pictures that have accompanied our individual team Twitter feeds since the start of time.

The logos are seven-sided, which represents the seven disciplines we cover at District Sports Page: The six pro teams (Nats, Caps, Skins, Wiz, DCU and Mystics) plus our Beyond the Games column.

But the seven sides logo is also representative of one of the most iconic images of Washington, DC — the Pentagon. While seven sides technically is more than five and therefore a polygon, I think you get the idea.

Also, incorporated in the logos, in the individual team colors, is the flag of the District of Columbia. The three stars and two stripes are prominently and proudly displayed on our new Twitter and Facebook logos.

The new logos also incorporate the excellent-but-little- used interlocking DSP logo that Pam Storen designed for us a couple of years ago and we’re happy the DSP will take on a much more prominent role in our branding.

Below, please take a gander at the new logos and let us know what you think. I’m sure everyone will miss Bryce Harper running into the wall at Dodger Stadium, or the Caps Southeastern Division Champion banner from ’11-’12, but we think the new logos are groovy, and much thanks goes to Brendan for the feverish two hours of work he put in on these.

Nats

Nats

Redskins

Redskins

Caps

Caps

Wiz

Wiz

Mystics

Mystics

United

United

 

 

President Obama hosts WNBA Champs at White House

Ed. — Thursday, WNBA Champs Minnesota Lynx were honored at the White House. While the Lynx obviously do not play basketball in D.C. on a regular basis, we still thought it was a neat ceremony and had the opportunity to have “special correspondent” Chris Gordon cover the event for District Sports Page.
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by Chris Gordon, special to District Sports Page

President Obama honored the Minnesota Lynx at the White House on Thursday, hosting an event commemorating their championship in 2013. Since selecting superstar Maya Moore first overall in the spring of 2011, the Lynx have become the WNBA’s dominate franchise. They won the title in Moore’s first year, in which she was named Rookie of the Year, sweeping the Atlanta Dream in the Finals.

After a 10-0 start to the season, the Lynx made the Finals again the next year before falling to the Indiana Fever. In 2013, they became the fifth team in the history of American pro sports to sweep every postseason series, capturing their second championship. Moore was selected as Finals MVP. The team has an 8-1 record so far in 2014.

“You did not only go 26-8 in the regular season, but you also swept the playoffs — a perfect 7-0,” President Obama, speaking in the East Room, said of their championship year. “You won it with all-star talent, from Seimone to Rebekkah Brunson, hometown hero Lindsay Whalen. You did it with fellow all-star and Finals MVP Maya Moore, who has now been here so many times I’ve lost track. I mean, basically there’s like a Maya Moore wing in the White House and when she comes, we’ve got all her stuff here. She’s got a toothbrush.”

In a testament to Moore’s significance, head coach Cheryl Reeve deferred to her when it was time for the team to make remarks.

“I just can’t speak enough about this team behind me,” Moore said. “We care, and it shows when we’re on the court, when we’re together, when we’re in the community. I think that’s what our nation is about.”

Here are some photos of the event:

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All photos (C) Chris Gordon and may not be used without permission.
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Chris Gordon is a writer and photographer for Russian Machine Never Breaks and specializes in hockey related content. He has an affinity for spicy chicken sandwiches.

Washington Mystics Game 9 Recap: Mystics drop third straight game, lose to Phoenix Mercury, 81-66

Monique Currie scored 9 points in Tuesday's loss to the Mercury. Image courtesy of Monumental Network.

Monique Currie scored 9 points in Tuesday’s loss to the Mercury. Image courtesy of Monumental Network.

The Washington Mystics hoped for a better start to their homestand than an 81-66 loss to the Phoenix Mercury, their third consecutive loss, and longest losing streak of the season.

An ugly but effective first half (24 rebounds, 17/39 from the field) saw the Mystics tied 37-37 at the half, but things dissolved  for the home team in the second half, as they have frequently this season. The Mercury went on a 10-0 run in the third quarter, and outscored the Mystics 23-16 in that span.

Coach Mike Thibault has struggled to find a consistently successful lineup in the second half of games this season, and shuffled players quite a bit during Tuesday night’s loss. He told reporters he “wasn’t happy” with the team’s performance in the third quarter particularly, but it showed how much they still need to improve as a young team.

“We’ve got some growing up to do as far as having a sense about the game, and the other part is our shooting,” said Thibault. “Our three primary guards tonight were 8 for 29. That’s a struggle for us. I was glad to see Mo [Currie] come in and kind of get herself going a little bit. I thought Emma played well but they [Phoenix] did a better job in the second half,” said Thibault. “Phoenix is really good and apparently they don’t foul.”

That is no exaggeration: Washington went 3-for-5 at the free throw line. Five attempts for the entire game.

Guards Bria Hartley and Ivory Latta each went 3-for-11 from the field, and Kara Lawson went 2-for-7 on the night, with a team-high 6 assists. Emma Meesseman led the team with 14 points and 7 rebounds; Kia Vaughn scored 6 points and had a team-high 9 rebounds; and Tianna Hawkins scored 6 points and had 6 rebounds. Monique Currie looked perhaps her most comfortable all season, scoring 9 points and adding 3 rebounds. 

Brittney Griner led the Mercury with 20 points; Diana Taurasi had 10 assists, and Candice Dupree had 9 rebounds.

The Mystics have two more games at home, two more chances to turn things around before going on the road.

“For us, it is about having quality effort for the entire game,” said guard Kara Lawson. “This league is difficult. It’s not easy, so you are not going to go through undefeated and we know that. We definitely have to try to get out of this losing streak.”

 

Washington Mystics Game 7 Recap: Mystics lose to Fever, 64-61

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Washington’s Stefanie Dolson led the Mystics with 9 rebounds in their loss against the Indiana Fever. Image courtesy of Monumental Network.

 

Despite leading by double digit points at the half, the Washington Mystics were unable to extend their win streak to four games, and fell to the Indiana Fever, 64-61.

The Mystics held the Fever, (who they met twice in preseason play and once during regular season play and won each meeting), to 35% from the field, but only sunk 18 of 61 FG attempts.

Excellent team defense and rebounding were the keys to the Mystics’ three-game run, and compensated  for poor FG shooting, but it finally caught up with them Friday night, as coach Mike Thibault noted.

“We’ve survived the last couple of games on great effort on rebounds and half-court defense; for the most part we did a pretty good job of that other than for about four minutes in the third quarter,” he said.

A 35-26 lead at the half quickly disappeared in the third quarter, during which the Mystics were outscored 24-9, a season low. Thibault mused that on any night in the WNBA, if you hold a team to 64 points, you might win the game, but shooting 29% from the field is unacceptable, and the team missed a lot of easy baskets, and have been all season. Forward Emma Meesseman went 0-2 from the field and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt went 0-7 from the field.

“We were an awful offensive basketball team tonight, absolutely awful; if we would have shot a little over 30% we could have won the game,” said Thibault.” Our best shooters aren’t making shots and we missed layups, we were 2 for 15 from the 3 point line, we haven’t shot well from the 3 as a team all year.”

Bria Hartley led the team with 16 points, 2 assists and 5 rebounds; Ivory Latta added 12 points and 2 assists; Kia Vaughn scored 8 points and had 8 rebounds; and Stefanie Dolson contributed 10 points and a team-high 9 rebounds.

 

Washington Mystics Game 5 Recap: Mystics rookies lead the way in thrilling 92-84 3OT win over LA Sparks

Bria Hartley goes up for a shot during Sunday's game against the LA Sparks. Image courtesy of Monumental Network.

Bria Hartley goes up for a basket during Sunday’s game against the LA Sparks. Image courtesy of Monumental Network.

Led by first-year players Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson, the Washington Mystics secured the first ever triple overtime win in franchise history, defeating the Los Angeles Sparks 92-84. Hartley posted a career-high 20 points, and Dolson put up 14 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. It was their second consecutive win of the season, and their second consecutive win at home.

The Mystics bench outscored the Sparks 63-29, went 20-for-22 at the free-throw line, gathered 52 rebounds (a franchise record) and had 31 turnovers, which Coach Mike Thibault though was surprising.

“Well, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a score where you win a game in three overtimes and can have 31 turnovers,” he said.  ” [It took ] a lot of heart to win a game like that, when I’m looking at all the young players and I’m going ‘holy smokes.’ You got to get tested somewhere and they survived the test.”

Thibault also mused that high-pressure games are what aid the maturity of the younger players. “…game situations where you have score and time and fouls to give situations, inbounding against pressure, and all those things you have something to teach off of. Both on film and on the court, the things you preached at them that sometimes they may not always believe all come out in a game like this.”

“And we learned some valuable lessons while you’re doing it. I’d rather much learn the lessons and get a win at the end, than saying it was a great learning lesson and having a loss. It was really ugly for a while but really good in many ways too.”

Ivory Latta added 14 points and a team-high 8 assists, Monique Currie and Jelena Milovanovic had 12 points apiece, and Emma Meesseman scored 8 points and had 4 rebounds.

“I feel good and especially that we got a win in front of our crowd. It’s always a great feeling; we just have to continue the streak and play together and play hard,” said Latta. “To be honest this is what I train for, stuff like this. We pulled it out, we dug down and got it together.”

Washington Mystics Game 4 Recap: Mystics defeat Liberty 68-60, earn first home win of the season

Image courtesy of Monumental Network.

Washington’s Ivory Latta dribbles past New York’s Anna Cruz. Image courtesy of Monumental Network.

“We’re desperate, we need it, it’s our win tonight. No matter what it takes, we gotta do it.” That’s how Washington Mystics center Kia Vaughn described the team’s mindset heading into Friday night’s game against the New York Liberty. After a lackluster showing against the Seattle Storm May 24, the Mystics needed to seize their home court advantage to set their season back on track.

A strong first half and a dominating 4th quarter rush (led by 5′ 6″ guard Ivory Latta) propelled the Mystics to their first home win of the season, a 68-60 victory over the New York Liberty.

Latta led the team with 15 points, 12 of which came in the second half. Vaughn called her a “gut check” player for the team tonight – a player that everyone can trust to step up and make big plays when its needed. “That’s the type of player we need on the team,” she said.

“Everyone’s like “who’s gonna take the big shot?” that’s a gut check, go for it. Because now we all feel comfortable enough that you’re going to do it, and it’s going to be your role. As the season goes on, it could be someone else, but we need that within this league.”

Rebounds were a significant area of improvement for the Mystics Friday night, and crucial to their victory, nearly doubling up on the Liberty on the boards, 41-26. That was the difference for the Mystics, and allowed them to sneak past the Liberty after an ugly 3rd quarter, where they were outscored 18-12, and into the win column.

“The post players were totally relentless on the boards,” said Latta, who contributed 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 15 points (she shot 6-for-9 from the field)  in the win.

Coach Mike Thibault vowed last week to remedy the team’s rebounding woes. Friday night, he told reporters that the significant improvement in rebounding was the result of some tough practices that week.

“When we play against New York, I think the important thing is to play bigger against them. We were able to put bigger players on the floor and it helps with the rebounding because of it too. The emphasis all week was on rebounding and tonight it paid off,” he said. “We won the game with extra possessions. I am happy that the things we worked on this week is what got us the win.”

Six-foot-three guard Tianna Hawkins led the team with 9 rebounds, guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt finished with a team high 4 assists, and forward Jelena Milvanovic and center Kia Vaughn each contributed 14 points. Milovanovic made her debut as a starter for the first time this season. Forward Emma Meesseman finished the night with 9 points.

 

 

 

Washington Mystics Game 3 Recap: Mystics fall 73-65 to Storm

Fresh off their first win of the season Friday night, the Washington Mystics faced the Seattle Storm at Verizon Center, but came up short, losing 73-65 to fall to 1-2 on the season, and 0-2 at home.

Like the Mystics, the Seattle Storm played on the road Friday night, but were still 0-3, trying to find their first win of the season. “They came out and played with a little more desperation. I think their veteran leaders were good,’’ said Mystics coach Mike Thibault. “They shot the ball much better in the second half.”

”The first half was really ugly both ways,” said Thibault. ”The second half stayed ugly for us other than a few minutes, and I thought that the more desperate team body language-wise won the game.”

A 13-2 run during the third quarter enabled the Storm to run away with the game.

The Mystics were outrebounded 32-30, and Thibault pinpointed that as an area that the team needs to improve upon. At Indiana on Friday, the Mystics outrebounded the Fever 41-31, in a game they dominated from start to finish.

When frustration sets in, the Mystics seem to forget the basics. Thibault said the team will work on going “back to the fundamentals” in upcoming practices.

Kia Vaughn agrees. “We just have to buckle down and stick to what we are good at,” she said.

Emma Meesseman led the team in scoring with 12 points, accounting for 10 of the Mystics 14 points in the first quarter. Ivory Latta added 10 points, including 2 3-point baskets.

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