Nikki Teasley is back in Washington this season

No Place Like Home

By Mike Slane,

Teasley is back in her hometown and healthy.
Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images
June 29, 2006 - Having to adjust to a new team after an offseason trade is difficult for any player , but to do so while coming off of a season-ending injury the year before may cause any player to lose confidence and not play up to her potential.

But that has not been the case for newly-acquired Washington Mystics guard Nikki Teasley, who was traded from the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for Temeka Johnson and Murriel Page on February 1.

"It has been great so far," Teasley recently said. "It's been the best thing."

Teasley, who was informed about the trade while playing overseas with Sopron in Hungary during the WNBA offseason, seems not to have lost any confidence as she is already looking like her old self just 14 games into the 2006 season. The two-time Second Team All-WNBA selection is currently averaging a career-high 12 points per game while leading the league in assists per game (5.9).

Along with great numbers this season, Teasley continues to bring her veteran leadership and championship experience to her hometown Washington Mystics, and is ready to take the Mystics deep into the playoffs. As a rookie with the Sparks in 2002, Teasley hit championship-winning shot.

"I've been (to the championship) and I try to bring that experience to the court every time I step on the court. Unfortunately you have bad days, but the best thing about this game is you get another chance."

For Teasley and the Mystics, there have not been many bad days so far this season. Along with backcourt partner Alana Beard, who Nikki calls "one of, if not the best young players in the league," Teasley, the 2003 WNBA All-Star Game M.V.P., is leading the Mystics to the playoffs and towards a brighter future.

"I was excited, really happy about what the front office has done bringing in some other veteran players," Teasley said of her new team. "I think our personalities are kind of coming together. Off the court we're great friends as well as great teammates. Everybody's good people and we're having a lot of fun, so it's showing on the court, especially when we're at home."

For the Mystics to succeed and make a run at the championship they must rely on Teasley to "be Coach (Richie) Adubato's extension on the court" and, most importantly, stay healthy.

"My health's been great." Teasley said last week. "I haven't had any problems thus far, and I don't look to have any problems."

If she keeps performing as she has, it will be hard for coaches to leave her off of the Eastern Conference roster in the upcoming All-Star Game. Teasley last played in the 2003 WNBA All-Star Game. That game was also at Madison Square Garden.

"I'm happy and having a lot of fun. Hopefully we can do some great things in Washington."

Nikki Teasley currently leads the WNBA with 5.9 assists per game and total assists with 68. She also ranks No. 8 in three-point field goal percentage (.438) and No. 5 in three-point field goals made with 28.