First Half Wrapup with Lindsey Harding

Harding and the Mystics went into the break with a record of 12-5
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
Despite losing four-time All-Star Alana Beard for the year before the regular season even tipped off, the Washington Mystics have found a way to survive thanks in part to a solid team effort. The collective efforts of Monique Currie, Crystal Langhorne, Katie Smith and Lindsey Harding stand as a prime example of how team play can lead to team success

Harding sat with for a few minutes to discuss Washington's first half. Before the season started there was some concern that the Mystics would have trouble getting by without Alana Beard. But that doesn’t seem to be the case right now. What has the season been like in Washington so far?

Harding: I think we started off just in this attack mode. A lot of people were down on us and counting us out when Alana went down, and we took that as a challenge and an opportunity to show how good we can really be. And we’ve had a lot of people step up, especially the two that [were voted to the Stars at the Sun game], Monique and Crystal. They’ve been huge for us. [Crystal’s] just been very consistent for us. And with Monique scoring from the outside and Katie Smith, who you can’t leave, I’ve been attacking a little bit at the point, it’s been opening it up really wide for her and she’s definitely making it count for us. In talking with coach Julie Plank in the weeks leading up to the season, she said it was going to take a win-by-committee approach to really get the ball rolling. Based on how you just described things, is it safe to say that’s true?

Harding: I think that’s the only way to win. You look at a lot of things. Even the Lakers when they won, you have Kobe. But it’s not about Kobe. Gasol was big, Fisher was big, Artest was big. So you have to. With one star we’ve learned in the past, and I think the Mystics will learn, that you can’t win the way you want to win. It only gets you so far. When you have so many people contributing, you can stop one but you can’t stop everybody. And that’s what makes us such a good team so far. We still have to get better. We’re not content with where we are. We know we have to work to get better and the second half is totally different because other teams are going to get jacked up and ready to play too. Sometimes when a player goes down for a few games, few weeks or even a season, it can stand as some sort of rallying point for the rest of the team. Would you say that was the case this year?

Harding: I think that was part of it. I was upset. I was upset when people were writing, “Oh they might not be as good” or “they may not make it,” because I was like, “Well, we’re still the same team.” You look at Alana’s stats, 15 points, they can be made up with the players. And I was excited for Marissa Coleman, Monique Currie and Matee Ajavon. These are players who played behind Alana and never got the chance to really go out there and show everything they have. And this is their shot. Monique Currie, especially, is making the most of it and Marissa is starting to play extremely well for us too. So it’s been great for us. I’m excited about the future, getting Alana back and trying to fit her in to the style that we’re playing because some of these players are playing at a high level right now.
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