A Spark Plug

Ivory Latta may be just what the Mystics need in 2013

It might be a result of her height, or perhaps it is just the way she was programmed, but night in and night out, Ivory Latta is the most energetic person in the building.

The Washington Mystics’ new point guard is a dominating, game-changing force for the team, even if she is only pushing five and a half feet.

“Oh man, if you can tell, I bring a lot of energy,” Latta said. “Because after practice I’m dead. I bring a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm, I bring a lot of heart. Pretty much, I’ll bring whatever Coach wants me to bring.”

This energy and enthusiasm is sorely needed for a Mystics team that has not had much to cheer about over the past two years, and Latta has led the team well so far as their starting point guard. She followed up her career-high 27 point effort in the season opener against the Tulsa Shock with 14 points and 7 assists in the Mystics’ home opener against the Atlanta Dream.

Latta is one of many fresh faces for the Mystics this season, who have seven newcomers on the roster paired with four returning veterans. After spending the past three years with the Tulsa Shock, Washington head coach Mike Thibault called Latta in the offseason, asking her to join him in Washington. Apparently Thibault said all the right things, because once Latta hung up, she knew she wanted to come to D.C.

“Right then and there, I knew we were going to have a special bond,” Latta explained. “He’s a great coach and I love playing for him. So, when I have a coach like that, I’ll go out there and give it all I have for him.”

Thibault has great praise for his player as well, knowing his team goes through her.

“You see the energy, but you see the shots she can get for other people, and when they lock in on some of those people, the shots that she can make,” Thibault said. We can see that there’s a different dimension to this team that was missing last year.”

The team has lacked leadership at Latta’s position over the past few years, going through many changes at point guard. Having Latta is an important factor for everyone associated with the Mystics, as she can offer that leadership to her teammates, and is more than ready to do so.

“As a point guard you have to take that leadership role whether you want to or not,” Latta said. “You’re an extension of the coach and while you’re out there you have to make sure everyone is in the right place, call the plays, different things like that. I’m willing to take on that role, I’ve been doing it my whole life. I’m willing to take on that challenge and get it done.”

On and off the court, Latta is an outstanding role model. Her competitive spirit shines on the court, her energy and positivity continues into the locker room, and her high hopes and aspirations follow her into the business world. Her most recent projects while not playing basketball have come in the clothing industry.

She recently launched both a clothing line that puts an emphasis on not only fashion, but inspiration as well. The themes printed onto shirts, socks, and hats include phrases like “You Sleep I Grind” and “You Can’t Teach Heart.”

As well, she released a new shoe that appeals to the distinct difference between men’s and women’s players.

“The majority of women that play in the WNBA wear men’s shoes,” Latta told Dime Magazine. “Our knees tend to go inward when we jump. My shoe gives women more protection in the knee, which is something we have to have more of for women’s players.”

Plans for expansion and -- hopefully -- eventual domination of Nike and Adidas will have to wait for now, as Latta’s main focus this summer will be to lead Washington to a playoff berth.

As long as Latta continues to play hard and executes the plays Coach Thibault draws up, the Mystics will be a presence in the WNBA universe this season.

“I just feel blessed to be part of a great organization right now,” Latta said. “I love my teammates and we’re going to continue to grow with each other and get better.”