(4th in East)
(5th overall, 3rd in East)
2384 (13th overall, 6th
-1.7 (11th overall, 5th in East)
Rd. 1 - 2, Alana Beard
Rd. 2 - 15, Kaayla Chones
3 - 28, Evan Unrau
Three out of seven years
2004, lost in First Round
What Went Right?
The torch passed from
one franchise player to another in 2005, a year that marked the end of the Chamique
Holdsclaw era and the dawn of the Alana Beard era.
In just her rookie season, Beard, the second overall pick in 2004, was
Ms. Everything for the Mystics, stepping into the leadership role and carrying
the team on her back and into the playoffs. The Mystics won five of their final
six games. Beard scored 20 or more points in all six games, averaging 22.5 points,
5.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.3 steals per game during that span.
were one of the league's deepest teams, boasting 10 players who averaged at least
4.0 ppg and 10 who started at least once. Their depth allowed them to flourish
late in the season despite the absence of Chamique Holdsclaw; Washington won seven
of it's final 10 games after their leading scorer was placed on the injured list.
Sanford finished third in balloting for the WNBA's most improved player. She was
15th in the NBA in rebounding (5.0) and grabbed 6.3 rpg in the playoff loss to
Connecticut, during which Washington took the eventual Eastern Conference champs
to a deciding third game.
The Mystics were one of several teams that needed
a late surge just to make the playoffs. They were languishing at 12-16 before
Beard's heroics vaulted them into the postseason.
Only recently did Holdsclaw
disclose that it was depression that kept her sidelined for 11 games. One of the
league's brightest stars, a five-time All-Star, she appeared in her final game
for Washington on July 28. The team's success over the final month, and the emergence
of a leader in Beard, convinced the Mystics they could win without Holdsclaw,
who was traded to Los Angeles on March 21 for another All-Star, forward DeLisha Milton-Jones.
Another career ended unexpectedly when Stacey Dales-Schuman
announced her retirement in February. The 6-0 forward, a three-year veteran who
averaged 8.2 ppg last season, has chosen to devote more time to a successful broadcasting
career with ESPN.
There was even an off-season switch at general manager,
where Judy Holland-Burton's resignation allowed Linda Hargrove to ascend from
her position as assistant coach. One position that did gain some much needed continuity
is at head coach, where Michael Adams begins his second season. The Mystics have
had seven coaches in seven seasons.
2004 Starting Lineup
G- Murriel Page
G- Alana Beard
F- Chamique Holdsclaw
F- Nakia Sanford
Key 2004 Reserves
Ahead To 2005:
Hargrove didn't need much time to swing her first mega-deal as General
Manager, granting Holdsclaw's wish for a fresh start and sending her to Los Angeles
for Milton-Jones, a six-year veteran, along with the 13th pick in the upcoming
draft. A 6-1 forward, Milton-Jones has career averages of 11.2 points and 6.0
The Mystics enter the Draft with two picks (6, 13). Can they find
a floor general who can improve upon the team's paltry (13.7 pg) assist total?
Will they need to replace Murriel Page and Tamicha Jackson, both free agents who
have yet to re-sign?
Will Chasity Melvin, acquired in the 2004 Dispersal
Draft, resemble the player that started the 2004 season inconsistently, or will
she re-emerge as the beast that averaged 13.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in the playoffs?
Without question, any and all moves will be made to accommodate Beard's
prodigious talents. It became clear last year that she is one of the game's brightest
young talents, and building the right team around her - and not Holdsclaw - is
now the team's focus for the next several years.