Mystics Around the Globe
In the offseason, many WNBA players find themselves competing overseas. For the Washington Mystics, forward Marissa Coleman is competing for the first time internationally as part of Italy’s Schio team.
Coleman says that her major adjustment to being overseas was overcoming the language barrier. “Off the court I have definitely become more independent and having to do a lot more on my own. On the court it is difficult sometimes because of the language barrier, and not always understanding what is going on. I know my teammates get frustrated sometimes with me when I am running all over not doing what I'm supposed to. [However], I have really enjoyed myself so far. My teammates are great, and have helped me a lot with my transition,” Coleman said.
Other Mystics players overseas in the EuroLeague include Alana Beard (Poland - Gdynia), Monique Currie (Italy - Venezia), Crystal Langhorne (Spain - Rivas), Matee Ajavon (Turkey - Fenerbahce), and Bernice Mosby (Italy – Milan).
With competing internationally, the players believe that there is a difference in the style of play in comparison to playing in the states. Beard states, “It’s a different style, however, basketball in the U.S. is more competitive simply because you face great athletes day in and day out. No night is ever a night off. The U.S. game is more athletic whereas the overseas game is more finesse.”
Last year, Beard and Currie played together in Poland but now they are competing on separate teams. Although none of the Mystics players are playing alongside their own teammates, some still have an opportunity to team up with other league players.
For instance, Beard is teamed up with New York Liberty forward Shameka Christon and Connecticut Sun guard Erin Phillips in Poland. In Turkey, Ajavon is competing alongside Indiana Fever Center Tammy Sutton-Brown, Sacramento Monarchs forward Nicole Powell and Phoenix Mercury forward Penny Taylor for the Fenerbahce squad.
“It's a great experience to team up with players you play against during the WNBA season because you get to see a different side to them other than basketball,” Ajavon says.
The Mystics players have experienced a great amount of success thus far in the EuroLeague. Langhorne recently posted 22 points and nine rebounds in her team’s fourth consecutive win. Her Rivas team is seen as the surprise team of the league with an unbeaten record thus far. After four games, Langhorne is averaging 18.0 points per game and ranks sixth in that category. She is also eighth in rebounds pulling down 9.3 per game.
Although the players have been enjoying themselves overseas both on and off the court, they all miss being home and being with their families.
“I miss a lot of things when I'm overseas-- my family and sleeping in my own bed. However, no complaints, I'm doing what I love!” Beard said.
Some of the players are staying connected with their fans through social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. To keep up with the Mystics players whereabouts, visit www.washingtonmystics.com.