(4th in East)
Winners & Honorees
More than anything, the Mystics' success can be attributed to their prolific offense. The team ranked second in the league with 80.8 points per game, first in the league in with a 46.2% field goal percentage and fourth in 16.9 assists a game. Their balanced attack featured four players who averaged in double digits. Alana Beard's 19.2 ppg led the pack, as did her 0.78 blocks and 1.84 steals per game. Her play landed her spots on the All-WNBA Second Team, the All-Defensive Second Team and the East's All-Star Team as a reserve.
Another of the double-digit scorers was center Chasity Melvin (11.9), who played a major role on the low post leading the team in rebounds with 6.5 per game. Guard Nikki Teasley was the Mystics' main distributor, leading the league in assists with 5.4 per game.
While the Mystics succeeded on offense, they often struggled on defense. Washington's 78.2 points allowed a game ranked 10th in the league. They also finished in the bottom half in both rebounding and blocks.
The Mystics also had issues on the road, winning only five times away from home all season long. Their road woes continued in their brief postseason appearance as well, but their offense also suffered an untimely slump. Connecticut handled the usually high-octane Mystics, holding them to 35.7% and 32.4% from the field in their two-game playoff sweep.
But perhaps the biggest killer for the Mystics last season came on June 17 in a win against New York. The Mystics suffered a huge loss when DeLisha Milton-Jones, both an emotional leader and key player on both ends of the floor, injured her knee and was out for about a month. In only 23 games she averaged 14.6 ppg, 1.52 spg and 4.87 rpg.
2006 Starting Lineup
-G- Nikki Teasley
-G- Alana Beard
-F- DeLisha Milton-Jones
-F- Nakia Sanford
-C- Chasity Melvin
Key 2006 Reserves
The good news for 2007 is that Milton-Jones is healthy and has been playing in Europe for Spanish side Ros Casares this winter, leading the EuroLeague in both scoring (20.9) and rebounding (10.9).
In the Sting Dispersal Draft, the Mystics used their sixth pick to grab 6-3 center Teana Miller. According to General Manager Linda Hargrove, "She is a big strong, physical, efficient post player." Miller did not play in 2006 because she was pregnant, but in 2005 she recorded 3.6 ppg and 2.1 rpg. Entering her third year in the league and still developing as a player, her size and physical abilities should aid the team on the defensive end. But how can she contend with some of the bigger centers around the league?
The Mystics should have a strong and healthy squad heading into the 2007 season. They have the sixth pick in the Draft and will most likely use it to add depth as they already have a solid group of high-scoring starters. If they can stay focused on the road and be just a bit stingier on defense, they could definitely improve on their 2006 campaign. Now, as for improving in the playoffs... let's cross that bridge when we get to it.