February 2010

Friday, February 26th - Liz Sellers talks about her love for the Olympics. [permalink]

Hey Mystics Fans –

As snow fell on the Nation’s Capital during the second week of February, I was anticipating the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. I love the Olympics! From the theatrical presentation to welcoming the athletes to the competitions themselves, it’s all very exciting. It’s amazing that men and women of all nations, some as young as 16 years old, have the opportunity to compete at the pinnacle of athletic competition.

Although I enjoy watching both the Summer and Winter Games, after a family vacation to Lake Placid, NY at the age of six and seeing the ski jump from the 1980 games, I decided I was a bigger fan of snow. So to this day, the Winter Games reign #1 My favorite sport of the Vancouver Games has been Freestyle Skiing, specifically the Ski Cross event. The ability of the athletes to control and pass opponents while racing down the hill is incredible.

On the topic of elite athletes…WNBA training camp is about eight weeks away and our staff will start to see familiar faces in the office, returning home from overseas play ready to compete on their home court. Be sure to keep an eye out for Mystics updates as the season approaches!

I look forward to next time…

Thursday, February 25th - Chuck Kacsur pays it forward. [permalink]

Even though the forecast looks like even more snow is on the way, and the last blanketing is still fresh in everyone’s mind, I can assure you I won’t be using this space to talk any more about the subject. Instead, I’d like to tell you about how this coming weekend I am volunteering at Portfolio Review and Career Day with the American Institute of Graphic Art (AIGA), being held at George Mason University. Portfolio Day is an opportunity for upperclassmen and graduating design students from any university or art school to show off their ”books” and receive one-on-one feedback. The event is completely extracurricular; it is not reflected in their grades, its really about seeking advice on how to make the transition from student to practicing professional. As a student, I attended the Pittsburgh chapter Portfolio Day and now it is my turn to return the favor.

Of course, this weekend is the PSAC Indoor Track Championships and I want to wish the Vulcan’s the best of luck! The team continues to stay strong with a few Division II national qualifiers and probably the largest team they have ever had.

Wednesday, February 24th - Erin Mitchell gets prepares for a few special birthday celebrations. [permalink]

Hello Mystics Fans!

I don't know if it's coincidence or what but my blog entries have been due around the same time each year. I can recall sharing with you in February 2009 about my travels to Connecticut for my Godson's "glow in the dark" themed birthday party. Well, on this past Friday (February 19th) JT celebrated one full decade in our lives. I can't believe he's 10 years old already! I can honestly remember the morning that he was born. His mom called me shortly after 5:00 a.m. on that rainy Saturday morning so that I can bear witness to the pains of labor that she was experiencing. (By the way, I was in Hampton, VA and she was in New Haven, CT.) In typical college student fashion, I had just gone to bed at about 3:00 a.m., so needless to say that after a two hour nap, the last thing I expected (or wanted) to hear was Shante's shaky voice when she was mid-contraction. I had an event to attend that day for which I needed to be sharp and the couple of hours of sleep that I managed to get, didn't help matters! I remember returning home later that afternoon to my roommate joyously exclaiming that "the kid" had been born. Good times…my eyes are tearing up just thinking about it. After last year's birthday party, JT decided that he was over the party phase and was ready to move on to "birthday vacation celebrations". He never ceases to amaze me! I'm really nervous as to what he'll want to do by the time he turns 16. Happy Birthday JT! Keeping with the birthday theme I want to give an early Happy Birthday wish to my BFF Tracey who will celebrate her big day on Thursday!

This past Saturday, I had the privilege of sitting on a Sports Panel at an HBCU College Festival that was hosted by the church I attend. The other distinguished panelists included former NBA Player Bob Dandridge; former NFL player Jamie Brown; Patricia Thomas, University of DC Athletic Director; and Eric Chavous, member of Howard University Men's Tennis Team. The panel was moderated by Jim Lewis, Assistant Coach for the Indiana Fever. What an honor for me, the only non-athlete in the group, to be able to address high school students and their parents about my experience attending Hampton University as well as my career path which has led me to the Washington Mystics. This festival provided 1,300 students the opportunity to engage with representatives from a number of HBCUs. Nearly 200 students were accepted into college on Saturday and $76,000 in scholarship money was awarded. It was truly an awesome experience to see so many young people that are eager about continuing their education and will hopefully choose one of the 105 HBCUs in the country to do so.

Lastly, if you haven't seen this week's Amazing Monday offer let me tell you about it. I'm a fan of the trivia show Jeopardy (don't judge me) and I'm sure that there are a number of you that think you are a Sports-Know-It-All. Well, here's a chance to put all of your sports knowledge to the test. You and a group of your friends can challenge three other teams in a Jeopardy-style game. Send me an email or give me a call at 202.527.7510 for more information.

Go Mystics!!

Tuesday, February 23rd - Coach Julie Plank checks in. [permalink]

Hello Mystics Fans!

This is the time of year where my television is on non-stop, as I continue to watch the end of conference play in women's college basketball. There have been some great games down the stretch, as teams play for the top seeds in both the conference and NCAA tournaments. The top picks in this year's college draft have been leading their respective teams, as Tina Charles, Jane Appel, and Monica Wright have continued to dominant. The match-ups will be interesting, as teams try to secure those high seeds come March…always a tough job for the NCAA committee!

Congratulations to Terri Williams-Flourney and her Georgetown team, as they upset #3 ranked Notre Dame this past weekend. Her team was picked to finish 8th in the Big East pre-season poll, and is currently ranked #14 in the country! Brenda Frese and the young Maryland Terps continue to improve each game. We love when those local teams do well!

I have also enjoyed the Winter Olympic Games LIVE from Vancouver. How exciting it was for the USA men's hockey team to defeat the Canadians last night! The medal rounds should be fun to watch! It was fun hearing from Mikhail Ovechkin today, as he called the office to check-in. He did not want to talk about Alex, nor the Russian hockey team chances for a GOLD MEDAL, rather he wanted to make sure we were ready to copy the Florida State @ Virginia women's game tonight @ 7pm. Always so dedicated to his job, Mikhail assured me that he would be back in the office next Tuesday morning!

The free agency continues in the WNBA, with our own Monique Currie re-signing with our Mystic's team. Mo was a big part of our play-off run last season, as she lead our team in 3 pt shooting, FT attempts, and was our best perimeter rebounder. We are looking forward to having her back, and even more improved in 2010! She is very excited to remain a part of our quest toward a WNBA Championship, in her hometown of DC! Also re-signing in Indiana were Jessica Moore and Jessica Davenport. Some free agents who decided to move elsewhere were Hamchetou Maiga-Ba, who will be joining the Minnesota Lynx team, as well as LaToya Pringle who signed with LA. Roneeka Hodges will continue her playing days in San Antonio, as Tamecka Dixon announced her retirement from the WNBA, after a great career in the league. My next blog should include some Mystic free agent news, so stay tuned…

Our current players continue to play well overseas, as Chasity is coming off a double-double, 23 points and 13 rebounds, teaming up with Courtney Paris from Chicago. Matee has had two back to back 20 pt games, as she has lead her Fenerbache team to two consecutive wins. We all KNOW she can score in bunches! Lindsey recently put up 33 points and numerous assists to lead her Teo Vilnius team. That is just a few of the overseas updates, as Marissa Coleman is now back in the USA, working out with Alana in the mornings. The "morning crew" is growing, as we have added Nathalie (our basketball ops intern), known as "Miss Step back", and a couple of our practice guys to the mix!

With training camp only 2 months away, our staff has been communicating daily from all over place. Marianne continues to check-in from Russia, as she informed me today that it was -18 degrees over there! Where would we be without skype and modern technology…it is amazing? Trudi is finishing her season with her Queen's College team, and we are still trying to get Vicky Bullett to "come out of retirement and play"! Lisa and Navin are working hard to get our players stronger and 100% healthy and ready to go by April 25th, the opening day of training camp. I am so fortunate to have such a great staff, which makes a huge difference in the success of our team. Angela Taylor continues to figure out ways to make our team better every day. That is the goal, and we look forward to seeing you all this summer in the Verizon Center.

A couple of my highlights from this past weekend, of course from my hometown Columbus, Ohio…

• My nephew Matt, finishing his 6th grade season 10-0, and entering the play-offs for the 1st time in his playing career. He also has informed me that he and his Dad (my brother John) have now started scouting their opponents, as they prepare to get to "The Final Four"!
• My other nephew Timmy (Matt's brother, who is a 2nd grader) made the only basket for his team, as they performed at ½ time of the HS boy's game. He said his shot was "the game winner from close in"!

If you have not done so already, check out Ted Leonsis' book 'The Business of Happiness'. I just purchased it yesterday and look forward to the many great things he has to say!

Until next time…Coach Plank

Monday, February 22nd - Michigan native, Lauren Lafayette, shares her tips on driving in the ice and snow. [permalink]

Good Morning Mystics Friends,

I thought being a native Michigander I would never say this, but I am sick of the snow. Now I've come to appreciate the regional differences of Washingtonians (and all others from the East Coast for that matter) but your attitude and reaction as it pertains to snow and all sorts of winter weather is somewhat odd.

Please everyone you cannot treat ice the same way you treat snow. When you encounter ice on the roadway, please use the utmost caution as sometimes you cannot see it on the pavement. So with that being said, please stop speeding up in the parking lane and trying to slam on your breaks as you attempt to beat the traffic; "catching a light" is not worth anyone's life.

Conversely, please try to stop driving so slowly in the snow. Snow has a sinking effect when pressure is applied. Therefore, when you come out of your driveways and/or merge onto the roadways if you are not going fast enough the heaviest part of your car will get caught in the snow drift causing all sorts of problems.

Finally, be a pal and help someone out that does not have a shovel, is having trouble cleaning their car, elderly or just in need. I know the entire Metro area was affected and it was difficult for most people to clear themselves from the snow but if we all work together as a community, neighborhood, etc. I promise this will be beneficial to the entire area.

Well, thanks for reading my tips/complaints for the snow here in DC.

Have a wonderful day!!

Friday, February 19th - Veronica Sander talks about the snow and visiting family. [permalink]

Hello Mystics Fans!

Whew, can you believe all of this snow? 55" is the final count I heard and the most in Washington DC history. For the first storm I was in Harrisonburg, Virginia and it is a beautiful sight to see, but I was sick of shoveling by the time I left! I hope that you had an opportunity to enjoy the snow and traffic is getting a little better each day.

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to go visit my brother for his birthday. His son is almost 13 months and when I saw him at Christmas time he would not let me hold him at all! My expectations were low for this trip, but I was excited to see him either way. Upon our arrival, my mother of course snatches him up to say hello first. Then, he actually reaches for me to pick him up! I was shocked and excited all at the same time. We hung out all day and he told me about his darts that he likes to play with. Watching him grow up is amazing and I can't wait until he gets a little older and then we can start playing sports.

Speaking of sports, are you all set with your Mystics tickets for 2010?! It is going to be an extremely exciting year and I wouldn't want you to miss out. As a matter of fact, we will be having an announcement in the coming weeks that I know you will be excited about! Please give us a call and we'll figure out what is the best plan for you.

Until next time, GO MYSTICS!

Thursday, February 18th - Cassaundra Lockett introduces her son Kobe. [permalink]

Hey Mystics Fans,

Well it has been a very, very, very, very long time since my last blog. After being stuck in the house due to all of this SNOW, I decided this would be a good time to write one.

My son Kobe is now 3 months old and might I say I am enjoying MOTHERHOOD. We had a doctor appointment a few weeks ago and Kobe had to get five shots (OUCH). While Kobe did not cry as much as I thought he would, mommy ended up doing all the crying and even had to step out of the room as the nurse proceeded to give Kobe his shots. It's good to know that Kobe is healthy and weighs in at a mere 13.12 pounds and is 24 ¼ inches long. Might I add with Kobe's dad being 6'8 and I am 5'9, I really think Kobe is going to be really TALL!!!

Not long ago, Kobe got the opportunity to come to his first Wizards game against the Lakers. Even though Kobe slept through the entire game it was great to witness one of my favorite players "Kobe Bryant" in person. Kobe also got a chance to meet Auntie Ju-Ju (Julie Plank) for the first time. Auntie Nat-Dog assisted in a diaper changing moment and my gosh I think she has the hang of it, while Auntie Angie (AT) waited until the diaper changing session was over to hold him.

Alana recently had the chance to babysit Kobe two times. The first time I think I called to check on him every 15 minutes and even was sent to voicemail a few times because I was calling too much. The second time I called maybe three times and texted only a few times. I must admit AB did a good job and even got a golden shower from KOBE (Ha Ha, Two Words Space Jams) KUDOS to God mom AB! This is going to be another "In It to Win It" season. So join us as we embark on the road to bring a WNBA CHAMPIONSHIP to DC.

Fans, don't forget to purchase your season tickets and a couple more tickets for friends, family and even neighbors.

Until next time, Stay Warm Mystics Fans!

Wednesday, February 17th - Kim Peters has Olympic fever. [permalink]

Hey Mystics fans!!

I hope everyone has survived the snow storm and is now safely back to work and school! I don't really want to talk about the snow because I never thought I would say that I want it to stop snowing, but I do want it to stop.

On a more exciting note the Olympics have begun. I am completely obsessed with the Olympics. Every night from 7 pm to 11 pm I watch whatever coverage they are giving me on TV whether it is skiing, snowboarding, luge, curling, speed skating, or snowboarding. I watch it all. There are two events that I am really, really excited about watching this year. First, figure skating, I love figure skating. My mom, sister and I have gone to skating shows and watched every championship on TV for as long as I can remember. I don't know the skaters as well as I used to when I was younger but I still love to watch the sport. It's so beautiful and unique and you have to give them a lot of credit for what they do. I was so happy for the Chinese couple that won the pairs; what a sentimental win for them!

The other sport that I am extremely excited for is men's hockey! I am a huge hockey fan. Everyone usually has one sport that they follow religiously and mine is hockey! There are so many teams that are in contention this year that it's definitely going to be an exciting tournament. Teams like Canada, Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic and Slovakia are just stacked with players! I can't wait until the action starts to cheer on USA!

Well that's about it for this post, I hope you all had a great three day weekend! Training camp is coming closer and closer every day so I hope you are all as excited as I am!

Until next time…Go Mystics!

Tuesday, February 16th - Angela Taylor remembers a special anniversary. [permalink]

Hey Mystics Fans,

Believe it or not, after being stranded in California for a week, I finally made it back to the DMV on Monday night (although Monday's travel day was certainly not uneventful).

As my flight was landing at National Airport, the miles & miles of snow piles illustrated why it was such a challenge to get back home last week.

Last Sunday, I was on the 101 Freeway heading to Maples Pavilion for the USC @ Stanford game, when I received the first of many automated calls from American Airlines announcing that my flight had been cancelled. I finally boarded a flight yesterday. Needless to say, I made it home safely & can honestly say that it is so nice to be home!!!

While the travel woes were certainly frustrating, I don't think anything can ruin the moments that were shared during last weekend's 20th Anniversary reunion for the 1990 Stanford Championship Team. Boy, how time flies. I can't believe that 20 years has passed. Tara, the 2010 team, & her staff did a wonderful job of welcoming many of us (those whose travel wasn't affected by the east coast storm) back to Maples to reminisce and celebrate that momentous occasion.

It was great to see and hear from my teammates who are doing amazing things. Jennifer Azzi is a spokesperson for the NBA/WNBA and a number of other companies. Katie Steding is an assistant coach at Columbia University. Stacy Parsons is an executive in Organizational Development at Yahoo!. Sonja Henning couldn't make it, but she is an executive in Global Sports Marketing for Nike. Trisha Stevens heads up the Communications/PR Department for the MBA Program at Boise State. Julie Zeilstra couldn't make it. Martha Richards is the Head Golf Coach at the University of Texas. Chris Macmurdo has a medical practice & teaches at the Vanderbilt Medical School. Val Whiting was stranded in Delaware, but she owns an elite training facility. Molly Goodenbour is the Head Coach at UC Irvine. So proud to be a part of this family.

Unfortunately, Julie was not able to fly out to make it to the reunion, but many of us reminisced about what a huge impact she has had on our lives & the success that we had as a team because of her efforts. From getting Jennifer to relax before a huge tournament game to leading our team cheer in warm-ups ("Alright, alright, alright…"), each player shared her fond memories of Julie. I wish she could have been there to hear them.

We were also blessed to see Renee Brown (WNBA's Chief of Basketball Operations & Player Relations) an assistant on that team, Dr. Peter and Helen Bing (two amazing individuals who have given so much to Stanford University and the women's basketball team), Andy Geiger (one of the best athletic directors around, he was before his time in his support of women's athletics), Amy Tucker (currently the Associate Head Coach at Stanford), and several others who were a part of that special year.

The consistent message we all shared last weekend was how huge of an impact Tara has had on all of our lives. It was evident in the documentary (A Dream Season) that Becky Smith did on our team that year.

Andy & our Sports Information Director (Steve Raczynski) shared the story that Tara took the job & made the statement that she planned to win a National Championship within five years. Mission Accomplished. Her passion, her work ethic, her vision, and her intense desire to be the best has certainly rubbed off on all of us and we are grateful. I know I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't have the opportunity to learn from Tara.

Speaking of 20 years ago…

I remember reading the USA Today at breakfast prior to one of our Final Four practices that year in Knoxville. One of the headlines was that the University of Oklahoma Athletic Director and Board of Trustees had voted to eliminate the women's basketball program. While we were engrossed in video sessions focusing on the Virginia Cavaliers and Auburn Tigers, I faintly remember an uproar from the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and those in attendance at that record breaking Final Four weekend. Needless to say, a little more than a week later, the program was reinstated.

It is astonishing to think that 20 years ago a program that is now considered to be one of the best in the country could have gone by the wayside. This is especially true as I tuned in to ESPN2 on Monday to catch the UCONN @ Oklahoma game that was played in front of a packed house clad in pink t-shirts! We are lucky that the women's basketball community stepped up years ago and the decision-makers at Oklahoma were certainly rewarded for making the "right" decision to invest in the women's program. By the way, isn't it nice to hear Doris Burke broadcasting women's games!! I think she does a fantastic job, does her homework, & obviously knows the game.

By the way, kudos to David Stern, Mark Cuban, and Jerry Jones for what appeared to be an extraordinary atmosphere in Dallas for the NBA's All-Star Weekend. 108,000 people witnessing a hoops game…wow! Let's set our own attendance records this summer in the Verizon Center. The season is right around the corner and some exciting free agent news is looming.

Until next time….

Go Mystics,

Monday, February 15th - LaRhonda Lombardi talks snow, Mystics and coaching. [permalink]

I haven't seen a snow storm of this caliber since 1996 when my friends and I were snowed in to Seven Springs, Pennsylvania during our 8th grade ski trip. The 2 night trip was extended to a week, during which I vividly remember wearing a navy Looney Tunes sweatshirt and grey sweatpants for five straight days. While I like to think that my fashion choices have since improved, my relationship with snow has not.

Like most of you, I am very happy that spring and the start of the Mystics season are just a few short months away. To me, the spring used to mean the start of lacrosse season and the annual appearance of Coach LaRhonda Lombardi. While I am sad that this will be the first spring in four years that I will not be coaching, I am very excited for my first season as part of the Mystics family. We kick off at Indiana on May 15 and will take the court at Verizon Center for our home opener on Friday, May 21….mark your calendar! (Click here for the complete 2010 Mystics Schedule.)

A few weeks ago I attended my first event as part of the Mystics staff, The 2nd Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day Celebration. The event we held prior to the Lady Terps/Duke game at the Comcast Center on the campus of my alma mater, the University of Maryland. The sold-out crowd enjoyed hearing from a panel of accomplished female executives in the sports industry, followed by a great basketball game….even if the Terps did lose by 1. I had the opportunity to meet several Mystics fans and supporters of female athletics, including the Coquis family. Roberto Coquis and his wife Judy Pino spent the 2009 baseball season touring every ballpark in the U.S. with their infant daughter, Sofia. They have a neat story and in honor of their daughter, support female-focused initiatives in athletics with a goal of ultimately increasing opportunities for women in sports. Very cool. They chronicle their adventures on their blog: 30ballparksandababy.com .

I am excited for the 2010 season and look forward to meeting many more Mystics fans! Stay warm…. May is just around the corner!

Go Mystics,

Friday, February 12th - Natalia Isaac talks about the pros and cons of snow days. [permalink]

Hey Mystics fans!

If you are reading my blog, that probably means you are stuck in the house because of all of this snow. Now don't get me wrong, I like the snow...but I don't like blizzards! It's snowed so bad in our region that the folks in Colorado were getting jealous. I guess there are some benefits to being snowed in though. For instance, I can watch all the talk shows and judge shows that I'd miss because I was at work. Well no, not really. The weather had taken over daytime television too! Every channel was talking about nothing but SNOW! Thank goodness for cable!

Aside from the snow, I'm looking forward to watching the NBA All Star game this weekend. They are expecting up to 100,000 fans at the game. That would be amazing if they could pull those kinds of numbers. Now for my predictions for the All Star weekend winners:

Rookie/Sophomore Game MVP: Stephen Curry
Skills Challenge: Derrick Rose
3 Point Contest: Stephen Curry
Dunk Contest: Nate Robinson (first 3-peat in history)
All Star Game MVP: Kevin Durant

That's all from me. Don't forget to purchase your Mystics season tickets! It's going to be a special season!

Thursday, February 11th - Alana Beard talks about the snow and a special visit. [permalink]

Hey ya'll! I hope all of you are safe and coping with the brutal white stuff that Mother Nature has sent our way. I swear if I wanted to see snow this high I could have just stayed in Poland where it's normal. It amazes me how two and three feet of snow is the norm for them. Snow to them is like a rainy day to us. They have the streets plowed before the sun rises and it's just another day. Hopefully the snow doesn't become the norm because it's not fun.

I have never just stayed in my house for two days in a row. I was so bored that I did an early spring cleaning, transformed one of my rooms into an office, and got my truck stuck before I even got out the driveway! I can be so stupid sometimes (once every blue moon). I wanted to see if my truck would live up to its hype in the snow. So I go outside pull out the driver's manual and study up on all the options. Me being me and thinking I know all I need to know, I go outside and test it out. For the first part of my driveway I was good to go. However, we got to the part of the snow that had been plowed my way and again, me being me, I thought I could jump a 10 ft high pile of snow (about 3 feet). Well, I got stuck and needless to say I was a bit disappointed because I thought the truck could do magical things like fly. It didn't! Haha... You should see me shoveling and trying to get it out...Hilarious.

Other than the cabin fever episode I actually had a chance to get out a bit. I had the honor of being a part of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative launch at the White House on Tuesday.

It was cool to sit in a small room of people and listen to her speak about something she's utterly passionate about. Childhood obesity is a serious issue and it feels good to know that someone of her stature is making a point to fight it. The NBA/WNBA are taking part in getting the message out and getting people moving. I'm excited to be associated with a program that is really and truly going to change lives.

So until next time "Let's Move..." on getting those Mystics season tickets and being more active. Be safe in the snow DMV Mystics fans!

Wednesday, February 10th - Chris Waldmann has some questions about the snow. [permalink]

Hello again snowed in Mystics fans,

Let's see, what to talk about? Hmmm…the Super Bowl, nah that already happened (although it was fun to see the Manning face make it's return to television wasn't it?) We could talk about the Caps, 14 in a row! But….this isn't a hockey blog. What about Women's College Basketball? Well, the conversation really starts and ends with UConn so that's not too exciting. How about…the snow!

Yes, the snow, I'm pretty sure you've all seen it by now, there's still 20 inches of it out there and the piles seems to be eight feet tall in places. Oh guess what, we're getting more of it now! Another 10 or 20 inches to just toss on top there, isn't winter fun? I may have mentioned this before, and if I have, please bear with me, but how is it that no one around here seems to be able to handle the snow? Now I'll preface this by saying that yes, this was a monumental snow fall, this is not your everyday, run-of-the-mill storm, but I've got to believe that it would have been possible for one plow to come down my street one time in the past 96 hours. Of course, where I live is by no means a main thoroughfare that would require immediate snow removal, but people do live there! People were still getting there cars stuck on my street last night, over 48 hours after the snow had stopped! Everyone's got their cars dug out, but half the people can't get out due to the 4-6 inch ice shelf that is now my street. (I also love, LOVE, the Baltimore technique of holding one's parking spot while out…put a lawn chair in it! The respect that is paid to the lawn chair in the parking spot is awe inspiring. No one, and I mean no one, dares to remove a lawn chair and steal a spot, its great!) So back to the point I was making (and to start to wrap this up), I've heard of people called "city planners." To the best of my knowledge these people are paid to plan cities, help make cities run more efficiently, etc. If these people do exist, and if they exist in Baltimore (despite our recent mayoral struggles) would it not make sense that they could "city plan" to do something when it snows? That's all I'm asking for…for someone to find a way to organize a snow removal plan that involves my street and the city not looking like a Frosty the Snowman special.

Wherever you are today (home most likely), try to stay warm and safe and enjoy the snow as it falls before you head out to shovel and try to toss it over the seven feet of snow already piled in front of you!

Take Care & Go Mystics!

Tuesday, February 9th - Julie Plank to the rescue...read all about it. [permalink]

Hello Mystics Fans!

It has been an unusual week in DC, with all the snow coming down! I was fortunate to get out this morning early, as Alana was "up at the crack of dawn" and ready to work! There is one thing about Alana…she rarely takes a day off! I was so thankful that I could get there, and kept thinking all day how I could help make a difference for someone? I think Natalia was tired of me saying the entire day, "I wish I could help people!" :)

Well, it did happen…the highlight of my day…while walking into my building, I noticed a woman and her young 5 year old daughter trying to cross the street. She seemed pretty frantic about how she was going to manage the snow. After asking if I could help, she said that "she was trying to figure out how she was going to get to the grocery store". This was my chance to make a difference! My response was…"jump in…I am going to take you there!" How wonderful it felt, as I waited for them to do their shopping, and then drove them home. Those are the "little things" that matter, and make me the happiest. Mission accomplished!!!

How about that HUGE win by the New Orleans Saints? What an awesome performance, as both the players and the staff demonstrated a "refuse to lose" attitude throughout the entire game. It was extremely fun to watch, and I am so proud for the city of New Orleans. It will be amazing to see the celebration that takes place today, as the parade comes to town. You have to admire their gutsy play, as they win their first Super Bowl Championship!

Congratulations to the Capitals, as they have won their 14th straight game! What a huge win last night, as they got an OT victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins, after trailing 4-1. How exciting for Alex Ovechkin to record a "Hat Trick" in the process! Let's keep the excitement going in DC!

The college season rolls on, as the top players continue to shine! Tina Charles dominates on both ends of the floor, and definitely shows why she will be the #1 pick for the Connecticut Sun, in April. The Sun will have a different look, with the addition of Renee Montgomery (traded for Lindsey Whalen), Charles, and also free agent Kara Lawson. Kara will help them a great deal, as she brings the ability to play either guard spot, and can score some points. Her intangibles should help the young players on that team. I cannot imagine not seeing Lindsey Whalen in a Connecticut Sun uniform!

The other top college players making a difference for their respective teams include... Guards: Riley (Oklahoma State), Prince (overseas), Lacey (Iowa State), Rack (Miss St), and Houts (Georgia); Wings: Wright (Virginia), Hightower (LSU), Greene (Conn), Thomas (Miss) and Clark (Middle Tenn St); and Posts: Appel (Stanford), Griffin (Nebraska), Harris (Xavier), Smith (Ilinois), and Monroe (Florida St). These are just the well-known names, with a few "sleeper picks" out there, looking to make WNBA rosters.

I would like to recognize Angela Taylor, as she was honored along with her Stanford teammates, as they celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first National Title in Stanford history, this past weekend in California. Ironically, Angela was also on the 2nd National Championship team two years later, in 1992. Also ironic, is the fact that she has not made it back to our 3 feet of snow, here in DC! :) While Angela was the epitome of hard work & commitment, she was extremely unselfish and a total team player! Those same qualities have made her one of the very best executives in our business world of the WNBA. I know I am extremely fortunate to be able to work with Angela on a daily basis!

With training camp about 2 1/2 months away, our staff is working extremely hard to get ready for 2010. I hope you will do your part, and purchase your season tickets. You don't know how much it means to our staff and players to have the rowdy crowds packed in the Verizon Center. Why not lead the WNBA in attendance yet once again?

Till next time,
Coach Plank

Monday, February 8th - Due to the inclement weather, there will not be a blog posting today.

Friday, February 5th - Crystal Hudson gets ready for Snowmageddon and the Super Bowl. [permalink]

Happy Friday everyone!! I'm sure we're all eagerly awaiting the impending snow storm for one reason or another. Some of us might be thrilled to break out our newly purchased inflatable sleds, while others are waiting to see whether they'll actually make it to that Super Bowl party they've been looking forward to since the start of the new year.

I never really make big plans for the Super Bowl myself. In fact, every year I usually wait until the last minute and then base my decision on the size and quality of the viewing screen, whether or not I'll be forced to consume snacks my body will later revolt against, the regional makeup (and team alliances) of the company I'll be in, and of course, the type of alcoholic beverages assured to be in stock.

With the snow storm promising to be a menace, however, my Super Bowl party invitations have either been reneged or put on hold (until Sunday, when my motivation to leave the house will likely be minuscule). So it's looking like I'll be watching the game on my own viewing screen, without any snacks – healthy or otherwise (because I'm one of the few who has not yet purchased a month's worth of groceries to get me through two days of snow), rooting against only the Colts fans CBS cares to expose me to, and drinking my preferred beer/wine/liquor of choice.

So whether you'll be joy-riding in the area streets and parks on your fancy new sleds; hording your month's supply of chips, salsa, beer and water; or watching Super Bowl XLIV solo…I wish you all a wonderful, white weekend!!

Until next time,

Thursday, February 4th - Alana Beard shares what she's been up to during the off-season. [permalink]

Hey Mystics fans!

I am sure you all are curious about what I have been up to since the conclusion of the WNBA season, right (if you're not, just read anyways :-)? Well, I'm actually on the plane headed home to Shreveport, Louisiana for my mom's surprise 50th birthday party (shhhh)! Let me tell you, planning for this woman is so hard! She wanted to throw her own 50th party. She had it all planned out in her head. The only thing my sister and I could do is shake our heads. We had to tell her friends to cancel on her! Our mom is a "hoot!" If you don't believe me, just wait until you meet her :-). I don't know what I would do without her though. I'm excited because this is the first time since college that I've been able to be home to celebrate it. Other than planning my mom's 50th, I've been in "crazy" workout mode. I've been doing hot yoga (exhaustion), boxing (never fought in my life, just imagine those punches), working out with Coach Julie Plank everyday and flew to Tampa a few weeks ago to work with Marvin Harvey on my shot. We totally analyzed every aspect of my shot and found reasons as to why my shot may be a bit inconsistent. I was there for five days and spent at least 6.5 hours in the gym each day.

I love routine, so this is absolute bliss for me :-)! It may not be "absolute bliss" for Coach Plank because I like to get up early and get my workouts out of the way, so that I have the full day to myself. I start my day at 5:15 a.m. if I'm doing yoga and straight from yoga I shoot over to Verizon Center to be there by 8:30 a.m. I usually get out of there around 10-10:30 a.m. and home just in time to catch "The View"!

Coach has been good for me. This is the first time that I've actually had the opportunity to work with my coach during the offseason. It's great because she gives me feedback as she sees it and in my opinion there's no one better to get it from than someone who has watch every single game you've played over and over. With Coach, it's about the little things and I really appreciate it. I love having my game depicted (by my coach, not wanna-be coaches, LOL) and being told what I need to improve on in order to be a better player.

I had my first Kobe experience when the Lakers came to DC to play the Wizards. It's weird because I don't get excited about players, celebrities, nothing. I just admire their talents. However, I was excited to see Kobe play in person. I think it was the idea of just getting close enough (had great seats, lucky me) to see the actual ball in his hands, being able to see the placement of his hands, the footwork and his vision. If I had the chance to pick his brain, you would be there for hours because I would have question after question. It's clear as to why he's so good (he puts in the time), but I would love to know the thought process. The documentary, "Kobe Doing Work", wasn't enough for me :-). Thanks for letting me spend a little of my time with you all. I have got to peel myself out of bed. I'm usually awakened to the smell of some eggs and biscuits when I'm home but we can't let Mom cook on her day! However, tomorrow, oh, "it's on like a chicken bone!" I'll let you know how good that gumbo was. Whoop whoop, can't wait.


Wednesday, February 3rd - Maria Giovannetti talks snow, smart phones and Superbowl. [permalink]

Hello Mystics Faithful,

I hope this blog finds everyone warm in the fury of our winter wonderland. I have not seen this much snow in my lifetime and it does not look like it will let up anytime soon. I'm a summer person, but I've actually enjoyed the beauty of the winter weather this season.

This morning at the gym I was on the treadmill and made a snap judgment of the person running next to me…workaholic. In the course of a 45 minute run, this person checked their blackberry no less than seven times. Each time they would stop the treadmill, read the message, respond and cranked the treadmill back up to a run pace. I was getting stressed out just watching him! In this moment I was reminded why I have made the choice not to give into getting a blackberry or iPhone…yet.

Shifting gears; Saints or Colts? I'm a Redskins fan, but for the sake of having a team to cheer for, I'll be pulling for the Saints. Truth be told, I'm actually more excited for the commercials than I am for the football game itself. The last I read these companies paid $3 million for one thirty second ad. This year should be very interesting with Pepsi pulling out and the controversy over the anti-abortion ad. Website of the week: www.superbowl-commercials.org.

My goal between today and Friday is to find a good sled. I want to hit the hills at least once before winter comes to an end. Stay warm and safe this weekend!

Tuesday, February 2nd - Angela Taylor recaps the latest in her world. [permalink]

Hey Mystics Fans,

Yay…it's February!

The long-awaited free agency signing period officially began with a quiet start on the 1st, but I anticipate that there will be a lot of activity around the league in the upcoming days and weeks. No news to report here in DC just yet, but keep checking www.washmystics.com for the heads up about any big announcements that may take place.

Tomorrow (February 3rd) is National Girls and Women in Sports Day!!!

Thanks to all of the parents and coaches who brought your girls out on Sunday to our National Girls and Women in Sports Day clinic at the Wisconsin Place Recreation Center. Despite Saturday's snow & the messy roads, we had a great turnout for the clinic and were impressed with how hard each of the attendees worked throughout the morning. Of note, was Coach Christy Winters Scott's technique during a game of CLUMP! She definitely used her wingspan to maneuver her way into the last few rounds of the game!!

Thanks also to those who attended the NGWSD event prior to the Duke at Maryland game on January 24th. It was an honor to sit on a panel with a women's basketball legend in Nancy Lieberman, a pioneer in Val Ackerman, and a visionary in Dr. Debbie Yow. It was quite an empowering night for those of us whose lives have been impacted through sports. Whether you're an athlete, a fan, or an administrator we all are so much better off because the doors are now open for women & girls to pursue their dreams through sports as a result of Title IX and those who continue to fight for increased opportunities around the country.

Congrats to Kobe on becoming the Lakers' All-Time Scoring Leader on Monday night. It's somewhat ironic that he eclipsed the previous mark (set by Jerry West) against the team (the Memphis Grizzlies) that West put together.

I haven't been particularly interested in recent Super Bowls, since my Cowboys have been shutout for almost two decades, but this year I think I will pay attention to more than just the commercials. It really would be nice to see the Saints bring home their first Super Bowl trophy after years of sub-par seasons & stadiums filled with fans wearing paper bags. How amazing would it be for that city, which is still in the midst of rebuilding, to head into Mardi Gras with a Super Bowl victory.

Welcome, officially to the Tulsa Shock. It's fitting that after the Detroit Shock staked a claim on WNBA history, that the new franchise keeps the name & will allow those memories to live on.

Thanks to the Mohegan Sun for hosting the 2010 WNBA All-Star Game. I look forward to seeing a few Mystics stars displaying their talents during that game in July for either the USA National Team or the WNBA All-Stars!!!

Well this is an exciting week for me. We will be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the first NCAA National Championship in Women's Basketball for Stanford University after Sunday's USC @ Stanford game out in Palo Alto. First, I can't believe it's been TWENTY YEARS! Oh my how time flies. While many of us keep in close contact, it will be nice to reunite for some laughs and to reminisce. Sounds like the coaches, many of the players, managers, trainers, and other support staff will be on hand. Hopefully there aren't too many photos of those atrocious sweaters I used to wear & that 80's coif that leaves me shaking my head.

We appreciate Tara and her staff inviting us all back to celebrate with the Stanford fans & her 2010 team. Who knows, maybe championship #3 takes place on the anniversary of the first. I'm sure I will have some great photos to share in my next blog.

Well, Mystics fans…we're less than three months away from training camp, so it's never too early to reserve your seats! I know I've said it before, but 2010 is going to be an incredible season down at the Verizon Center & we look forward to seeing you all there giving us the best home court advantage in the WNBA!

Until Next Time…

Go Mystics,

Monday, February 1st - Dave Deal is still waiting... [permalink]

Still waiting … that is where my wife, Jen, and I find ourselves as we enter February. If you recall from my last submission to the Pass the Ball Blog in early December, we are expecting the birth of our first little one and are now a mere FOUR days from the due date of February 5. We are anxiously awaiting her arrival and after what I would call a "knock on the door" on January 25, I honestly expected a January baby. But, here we are in February and still waiting ...

We are very excited though and have received great support from our friends and family, including my fellow colleagues here at the Mystics who surprised me recently with a terrific basket full of various baby-related items and a baby-tub complete with a shower – how cool is that?? We're very thankful for their generosity and I am blessed to be working with such a great crew.

On a Mystics Camps front, we are now scheduled for 18 camps located throughout the Greater Washington area. Registration is now open - sign up today as the spots will fill up quickly. The camp information, including the complete schedule and registration links, is available by clicking on the Camps & Clinics tab on the Mystics homepage or directly at www.WashingtonMystics.com/Camps.

It's going to be a great summer as we officially open our first season of summer camps – don't miss out on your chance to PRACTICE YOUR FUN-DAMENTALS and learn from the professionals!

See you at camp!