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.
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.
Jay Beagle didn’t skate with the top line Tuesday night, but he has frequently this season. Good or bad (rhetorical question alert)? (DSP take)
MYSTICS: The Mystics make some offseason noise, exercising options on Tayler Hill and Emma Meeseman. (DSP)
NATIONALS: The Nats announced their Spring Training broadcast and radio schedule. Personally, I think the radio guys should work all spring long — sorry Dave & Charlie. (DSP)
WIZARDS: Bradley Beal echos what everyone else is saying about the Wizards right now: they’re soft on defense. (WaPo)
REDSKINS: Now that Super Bowl is past, key offseason dates for the Redskins and the rest of the league. (WaPo)
UNITED: DCU tied Swedish second division club Jonkopings 0-0 in Bradenton, Florida in a training camp match. (DCUnited.com)
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.
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.”
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
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.”
“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.
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.
The Washington Mystics kicked off their 2014 season against the reigning WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx at Verizon Center Friday night, but fell 89-77. The Mystics trailed almost the entire game, aside from a brief 66-65 lead in the 4th quarter.
After trailing 0-17 during the first quarter, Coach Thibault credited the players who started the second half with jumpstarting the team’s offense.
”We made our own mistakes, but the effort particularly that second group in the first half that got us back in the game and brought some order out of the chaos was good,” Thibault said. ”When we got the lead I thought maybe we had turned the tide.”
Ivory Latta led the team in scoring with 25 points, and scored 7 three-pointers, a career-high, and scored 16 of Washington’s 23 points in the third quarter. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored 17 points, and led the team in defensive rebounds, with 5.
First-round pick Stefanie Dolson scored her first career WNBA points in the first half on two consecutive jump shots. Dolson’s former University of Connecticut teammate and fellow first-round draft pick Bria Hartley finished the night with 4 points.
Thought the Mystics rallied from multiple deficits, they were simply outplayed by the Lynx, who excelled at the fundamental elements of the game.
“We did a few things well, but we got beat in almost every phase of the game,” said Thibault. “We got beat on the boards, the free throw difference was interesting, and we didn’t offensive rebound, which was a problem all preseason. We’re not making enough shots and we’re not getting second-chance points, which kills you.”
The Lynx finished with 10 rebounds to the Mystics 4, and 11 offensive rebounds to Washington’s 4. Minnesota was also better in the paint, scoring 44 points in the paint to the home team’s 26.
“I don’t know what to make of some of it, but I just try to look on the bright side and figure out a way.”
On a team full of rookies and second-year players, there was plenty of good and bad to take away from the loss. Coach and players echoed the same tune – the team is young, and needs time to develop chemistry on the court. They have a week to work on that, as they don’t play the Indiana Fever, their second matchup of the 2014 season, until May 23.