Washington Mystics: 2007 Preview

COMING BACK


Beard
WASHINGTON MYSTICS
2006 Results: The Mystics finished
18-16, (.529, 4th in the East).
Roster | Stats | 2007 Schedule
Head coach: Richie Adubato enters his third season with the team.
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2007 Probable Starters:
C:
Chasity Melvin
PF:
DeLisha Milton-Jones
SF:
Crystal Robinson
SG:
Alana Beard
PG:
Nikki Teasley
2007 Draft Results:
Rd. 1:
Bernice Mosby
Rd. 2:
Megan Vogel
Rd. 3:
Gillian Goring
2006 Leaders:
Points
Alana Beard, 19.2 ppg
Rebs.
Chasity Melvin, 6.6 rpg
Assts.
Nikki Teasley, 5.4 apg
Blocks
Alana Beard, 0.8 bpg
Steals
Alana Beard, 1.8 spg
Who will return for the Mystics in 2007? Almost everyone, including six players who started 19 or more games in 2006: Alana Beard, DeLisha Milton-Jones, Chasity Melvin, Nikki Teasley, Crystal Robinson and Nakia Sanford. With the highest field goal percentage in the league (46.2%) and the second highest scoring average in the league (80.8), it's no surprise that Coach Richie Adubato and the team's management chose to keep the team largely intact.

Beard, the Mystics leader, is coming off the best of her three seasons in the league. She recorded career highs with 19.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.1 apg and a 49.5% field goal percentage and was named to the All-WNBA Second Team, the All-Defensive Second Team and the Eastern Conference All-Star Team.

But Beard is far from the only offensive threat in Washington. Milton-Jones (14.6), Melvin (11.9) and Teasley (10.7) also averaged in double figures.

Point guard Teasley, in particular, was an essential part of the Mystics' offense. Not only did she drain 52 shots from beyond the arc, she averaged 5.4 apg, tops in the league. Her ability to score and pass was crucial to the team's offensive success.


Milton-Jones
Though she missed 11 games due to injury, eight-year veteran Milton-Jones showed no signs of slowing down, averaging a career high in points. Veteran center Melvin dominated the paint, finishing with a career-best 6.6 rebounds a game.

Robinson contributed 7.4 ppg in her 27 contests, Coco Miller provided vital relief at the guard position and Tamara James, Nikki Blue, Laurie Koehn and Zane Teilane will likely continue to bring a spark off the bench.

NOT COMING BACK

The only Mystic not returning is veteran forward Latasha Byears, who signed a free agent deal with the Comets in the offseason.

NEW ADDITIONS

In the Sting Dispersal Draft, the Mystics acquired Teana Miller. Having missed last season due to pregnancy, the 6-3 center enters 2007 hungry and ready to play and will add size, strength and an additional low post presence.


Mosby
The 2007 Draft brought Bernice Mosby, Megan Vogel and Gillian Goring to the capital. Mosby, a forward, was the sixth pick overall out of Baylor. In her senior year she led the Lady Bears in 11 statistical categories including scoring (17.6 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg). Strong on both ends of the floor, she'll likely be the sixth man. Vogel is a gritty 5-11 forward with an eye for the basket who will be a nice addition. At 6-7, Goring is a strong and athletic big who will be competing for time in the post and could help the team's interior defense.

OUTLOOK

Little was done in the offseason to make the Mystics significantly better. But little was done to make them worse. The squad has a core of talented veteran players who have experience playing together, and as a result, it's fair to expect a repeat of last year's stellar offensive performance.

Defensively, the team struggled last year, specifically while Milton-Jones was injured. Without her, the team went 4-7. If she can stay healthy this season, the Mystics' problems could be solved. They have the chemistry and talent to go deep into the postseason as they continue to rise up the ranks in the Eastern Conference.

 

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