March 2009

Tuesday, March 31st - Angela Taylor talks about the difference between Cardinal and Cardinals, Twitter and the upcoming draft.

Hey Mystics Fans,

The countdown to the WNBA Draft continues. Only 232 hours and 5 minutes until we select the next player to don a Mystics uniform with the #2 pick. But who is counting :)

Well I hope you all are having some success with your women’s brackets this year. We all hope for some Cinderellas to find that glass slipper and that’s exactly what has happened thus far. With two more tickets yet to be punched for the charter flight to St. Louis…Purdue, Rutgers, Louisville, Iowa State, Ball State, and Arizona State (to name a few) have exceeded expectations & defied the odds.

Congratulations to Tara VanDerveer, the Stanford team, and Cardinal Nation on a return to the NCAA Women’s Final Four. After a bout of bad luck in the early ‘00’s when the Cardinal couldn’t muster past the Elite Eight (last second losses to Baylor & Tennessee in regional finals), it is great to see Tara being rewarded for all of the hard work she has put into that program over the years.

Congrats also to Coach Jeff Walz and his Louisville squad. His players did a fantastic job of executing his game-plan last night in upsetting a very talented Maryland squad. I’m sure they will have thousands of Cardinals fans in St. Louis since their men’s team was knocked out last weekend.

While we are on the subject of Cardinals and Cardinal. Let me be the first to highlight the difference between the Louisville & the Stanford nicknames. We (Stanford) are the Cardinal. Yes, the beautiful color cardinal red. Singular. No “s” at the end. Our mascot is not a bird. In fact it is a goofy looking tree with big eyes. I don’t understand the connection between a tree and the color red either, but who am I to judge. I am going to start counting the number of times someone calls us the Cardinals though.

I’d like to welcome two more important pieces of our basketball operations team to the Mystics family. Cassaundra Lockett, who has been a valuable part of our staff in the past for something like 5 years, is now our Equipment Manager and Joey Levin, an assistant for the Florida State Men’s Basketball video department, will graduate from FSU in May and join the Mystics as our Video Coordinator. Those two join Natalia Isaac, a former point guard for Dawn Staley’s Temple Owls, Sheila Robinson, and Mikhail Ovechkin as we round out our support staff (The SQUAD as they call themselves).

Julie and I sincerely believe that you WIN with people, so we feel really lucky to be surrounded by so many hard-working, passionate, talented, and loyal individuals. They have been working extremely hard to get us ready for the players to come back for training camp and their hard work is truly appreciated. Thank you all. We are lucky to have you on our team.

As I watched SportsCenter last night, I was glad that I was able to catch a little of the Alonzo Mourning jersey retirement ceremony. I have so much respect for how he played the game with such passion & intensity while always handling himself with class and dignity. That is what is great about sports. Alonzo is a person blessed with talent who not only lived his dream and left it all on the court, but also used his gifts to have a positive affect on his community. On a side note, that microphone he was holding during his speech looked tiny in his hand & in comparison to that enormous championship ring that was reflecting light back at the camera. Wow!

Well, unbeknownst to me, Julie shared my cooking adventure with you last week in her blog. The funny thing is that everyone who has heard about my new undertaking is shocked. Actually, shocked would be putting it mildly…flabbergasted would be more accurate. What Julie didn’t mention was that as I was shopping for this gourmet meal, I must have looked lost as I stared at all of the various spices on the shelf in the seasoning section. After spending what must have been 20 minutes staring at all of the labels, a nice officer in the army stopped to provide me with a little advice. I must have looked pretty pathetic standing there trying to figure out how to season my baked chicken. I’m somewhat of a fish out of water in a grocery store. My brother still doesn’t believe that I am cooking anything other than some waffles. Stay tuned for a cookbook.

Although she can make a mean grilled cheese sandwich and a tasty quesadilla, apparently my cooking experiment isn’t inspiring Julie to dibble or dabble with her cooking skills. As she nuked some popcorn for Natalia and I to snack on during last night’s Maryland vs. Louisville game, she read the following quote hanging in her kitchen…“My favorite thing to make for dinner is reservations!” Now that sounds like something I can relate to. Maybe Julie and I will collaborate on a Mystics Cookbook. Hmmm…

Ok, this Twitter thing has taken over the world. The fact that the NBA is fining Mark Cuban thousands of dollars over what he is tweeting on Twitter is simply comical. And, the fact that I am actually perusing people’s Twitter posts is frightening. Although, I have to say that Rebecca Lobo is quite witty…I love her recounts of the things her kids say and do.

I know that you all are anxious to find out who we will select with the #2 pick, so I hope you will tune into the WNBA Draft on ESPN2 April 9th at 3:00pm ET. We are excited to add another key piece to the puzzle as well and are anxious for the 9th to get here as well.

Julie and her staff are working extremely hard on improving our team, preparing for the upcoming season, and developing our players. They are looking forward to getting on the floor to start doing what they do best…teaching. So if you haven’t already, give us a call and reserve your seats for the upcoming season because it should be an exciting year!

It’s taken me about an hour to write this blog…so only about 231 hours and counting now.

Until next time…

Go Mystics,
Angela

Monday, March 30th - Sheila Robinson talks about her experience as a volunteer at the SunTrust National Marathon.

Good morning Mystics World! I am back again, not much has gone on since my last entry, here goes nothing….

My co-workers and I volunteered at the SunTrust Marathon Saturday (March 21). The day started at 7:15am, some of us met at Union Station where we waited for our ride to the site. Once there, a few of us mixed PowerAde, some of us set up tables and the rest got the cups set up on the tables. The mission: cure the thirsts for approximately 8000 runners, as they ran past us. We were ready, somewhere around 8:00am, a few runners ran by, but as the morning went on, it was a mad dash and we had runners upon us like a sea of water. It was great! What a rush!

The runners were so grateful and polite, even the ones who spilled more than they drank. A few never connected with their cups, but they took it in stride and kept it moving. I enjoyed hanging out with the staff that were there: Eboni, Nicole J, Erin, Ketsia, Dana, Angela our GM, Sarah, and Crystal who cheered on runners as if she knew them and last but not least, the person who coordinated this, Nicole Boden, Community Relations Director, she is a staff of one and doing a great job. It was a great day; I enjoyed that far more than I thought I would.

About 9:45am it was over; we shut down, and went home. I had breakfast with hubby and son, waited an hour, then I went to sleep. When I woke up it was dusk. Yes, I slept a very long time. I felt good when I finally got up.

Final thoughts: Everyone should volunteer; it is very rewarding and can be lots of fun.

Well that’s my time. We will catch up again in a few weeks.

S. Rob

Go Mystics! As real as it Gets

Friday, March 27th - Marty Lerner shares all of the happenings in the world of sponsorship.

Hi Mystics Fans! Are you ready? I don’t know about you but I cannot believe that the draft is in less than two weeks. “Who will be our #2 pick?” is the golden question.

While I don’t know the answer to that question, here’s what I do know:

• Everyone here in the front office has been working tirelessly to bring you the best possible product, both on and off the court. I hope you’ve bought your season tickets because you will see a much improved team in 2009.

• We’ve started an Advisory Council comprised of four prominent female leaders in the D.C. community ---- Rynthia Rost (Geico), Debbi Jarvis (Pepco), Janene Jackson (DC Chamber), and Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley (Women in Cable Television). These women are avid supporters of women’s causes and we’re proud that they can share their precious time to help us.

• Our corporate partners are the best --- they believe in what we’re doing to highlight our athletes in-game and in the community. Thank you Geico, RLJ, and Sibley --- to name a few.

• I attended a luncheon yesterday for United Way’s Women’s Leadership Circle. Women are changing the world, folks. My favorite part was a Madeleine Albright quote (which I’m paraphrasing) that Dr. J shared, “If you’re a woman and not supporting women there’s a special place in hell just for you.”

• We are hosting our annual sell-a-thon on Tuesday, April 7th. There are ticket packages to meet anyone's needs (as well as a special incentive for Caps fans). You can use the tickets to entertain clients, family or friends. You can also choose to donate them to a worthy charity, Most Valuable Kids. Email me today for more information.

• Thanks again to our friends at Bar Louie for providing lunch for the staff!

• I had a great vacation with Alan and Alexa. We hit the Orlando circuit and had a fabulous time with Mickey and his friends as well as Shamu. Here’s a picture of Alexa at Disney World.

Look forward to seeing you soon!!! GO MYSTICS!
Marty

Thursday, March 26th - Greg Bibb checks in.

Here we are on March 26, ready to tip off the round of 16 in the NCAA basketball tournament. So far both the men’s and women’s brackets have been fun to follow and I anticipate another great weekend of action. Here are some of my thoughts thus far on the two tournaments, in addition to some Mystics business as well. Remember, we are now just two weeks away from the draft. Who will we take, what will we do? It’s going to be a fun couple of weeks here in Washington.

A Different Approach to the Draft

Traditionally, the Mystics have held a draft day party where our fans have had the opportunity to gather at a local establishment to watch the draft along side Mystics front office personnel. The challenge for the past few years has been that the draft takes place in the middle of the week, during the middle of the day. This year is no different with the draft being held on a Thursday at 3pm.

In an effort to involve more people in our draft celebration, and candidly to do something different, we will forego the draft party this year and instead schedule a series of draft-related events for early the following week. We are working hard to include our draft pick in this programming, which tentatively would include a meet-and-greet style function on Tuesday evening, April 14. More details to follow. Stay tuned.

Join the Club

We have been working diligently for about the past eight months on a new concept for our home games that will provide our fans with the opportunity to enjoy an all-inclusive food/drink/ticket package. I’m happy to report we are close to finalizing these details and making this opportunity a reality. The package will provide access to a custom-built Mystics club that will be located on the arena floor, with elevated, tiered seating and clear views of the court. Food and drink will be unlimited in the club from the time doors open through halftime. This will be a very cool place to see and be seen at Mystics games. I will provide more details as we finalize layouts, menus and pricing.

The Sweet 16…the Men

I can’t say there were a bunch of huge upsets. Certainly Cleveland State’s win over Wake Forest was a bit of an eye-opener. I’m also proud of the Siena Saints…champs of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, home of the Marist College Red Foxes. Siena bounced Ohio State and gave #1 seed Louisville all they wanted before fading in the final few minutes of round two. Outside of Cleveland State and Siena, Arizona is probably the biggest surprise. In a year in which they lost their legendary coach and struggled to make the tournament, the Wildcats find themselves in the Sweet 16 opposite the aforementioned Louisville.

My bracket took a bit of a beating in the first two rounds, but I still have all of my teams alive from the elite eight through the championship game. The sweet 16 match-ups should be fun to watch. I’m especially interested in the Missouri-Memphis tilt. This should be an absolute end-to-end track meet with two of the more athletic teams in the country. Enjoy.

The Sweet 16…the Women

Auburn getting bounced in the second round by a typically offensively challenged Rutgers team was a shock. The fact that the Scarlet Knights scored 80 points in registering the victory was even more surprising. I must admit, I’m disappointed to see Auburn out as I would have liked the opportunity to watch more of DeWanna Bonner.

Even though they had a down year and were very young, it is still a surprise to see the Lady Vols heading home after just one game. Ball State’s victory marked the first time in Pat Summit’s historic career that she lost in the first round of the tournament. Think about that…just another reason she will go down as the greatest women’s basketball coach of all-time. I just don’t know what everyone is going to do for the rest of the tournament without the Tennessee band around to play “Rocky Top” 800 times each game.

Moving on, Maryland continues to look impressive and I stand behind my prediction from last week in which I picked the Terps to play in the championship game. Be careful though Maryland…Vanderbilt is for real.

Speaking of the women’s tournament and local ties, how about a shout out to UT-San Antonio and their associate head coach (and Mystics assistant coach) Luby Lichonczak. The Roadrunners gave Baylor a game and then some, pushing the # 2 seed into overtime before falling.

So far so good for Courtney Paris and the Oklahoma Sooners. Courtney’s estimated $64,000 guarantee of a national championship is still alive entering the Sweet 16, but now the real work begins with a tough match-up against the fourth-seeded University of Pittsburgh Panthers. To me, Courtney’s pledge continues to be one of the more entertaining aspects of this year’s women’s tournament.

Finally, my Marist College Red Foxes fell to Virginia in their opening round game. After leading by five at the half, Marist could not find the basket for the first 10 minutes of the second stanza, fell behind by 16, and couldn’t make up all the ground before time expired, losing by seven. Oh well, there’s always next year.

Quote of the Week

“Don’t let fear stop you, it only means you are facing great opportunities.”

Five Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• Agent 0 may be back this weekend. This is good for basketball in the District.

• I will be moderating a panel on pro and college sports at the 2009 Sports, Events and Marketing Experience (SEME) this Friday. If you are interested in the sports industry, this is a great conference to check out with industry leaders discussing all of today’s relevant sports business issues. SEME is being held at Nationals Park on Friday and Saturday. I hope to see you there.

• Can you believe baseball season is about to begin?

• The Washington Capitals have qualified for the playoffs. Congrats!

• Tip off to the 2009 WNBA season is 72 days from today!

Until next time,
Go Mystics!

Wednesday, March 25th - Sarah Novak talks about working in the sports industry and seeing Britney Spears perform.

Hello Mystics Fans,

Can I tell you how much I take for granted that I work in a Sports Complex? One can say I have been spoiled being in the Sports & Entertainment industry. I only sit in lower seats no matter what event it is; and when meeting these athletes I never get all star struck. They put on their pants the same way that I do. I take people on tours of the Verizon Center all of the time to show them around and also scoop out their new seats for their Mystics season tickets. So needless to say not much gets me excited when it comes to events, however, BRITNEY SPEARS was in the building yesterday. Her concert at the time that my blog was due was a mere four hours away. But can I tell you I was like a little kid watching them set up the stage. I can tell you the concert will be an amazing time. This is one of the very rare occasions that I put down money to see a performer. Very excited to see Miss Spears back in action.

On another note I was having a wonderful conversation with one of my STH about this up coming season. We were talking about everything from players in college to what our coaching staff is up to and also what our players are doing overseas. Then there was this big silence I thought she hung up on me for a minute there. She then told me how much I have improved with my knowledge of the game and how much she was impressed that I made it thought my first season. I was very flattered. Much better things are going to happen in this upcoming season. This is definitely the turning point for our girls on the floor.

Sarah

Tuesday, March 24th - Julie Plank talks about March Madness, family and Angela Taylor's cooking.

Hello Mystics Fans!

I am sure you all are enjoying March Madness, as our staff is busy evaluating prospects for the upcoming collegiate draft. I cannot believe it is just a little over two weeks until draft day, April 9th. Both the conference and NCAA tournaments are a great indication of how players perform under pressure. There is so much at stake, and it is nice to see who “raises their level of play” during those times.

Congratulations to Luby and his UTSA team, for an outstanding performance versus Baylor in the NCAA tournament. UTSA took the #2 seed Baylor Bears to overtime, with a great effort. What a game the Ball State Cardinals played to knock out the Tennessee Lady Volunteers.

It is hard to imagine this is the first time that the Lady Vols will not be going to the Sweet 16! I am sure many of your brackets were disrupted with the result of that game??? There have been a few upsets already, which only shows the parity that is present in the women's game.

It is always fun to see coaching colleagues at games, old friends, and sometimes even family while you are traveling. I am fortunate enough to be staying at my sister Carol's house in NJ, after checking out the Auburn vs Rutgers second round game. She has always been one of my biggest supporters, taking many trips to New York to cheer for my WNBA team. While I am so grateful for her, she does appreciate the “perks” that come with having a WNBA coach as a sister. Before our trips to play the Liberty, she often asks “Can you put me on your rooming list, as I want to check in FIRST and head to NIKETOWN before you arrive”!!! And before our teams checks out of the hotel in NY, she does not hesitate to say, “Please keep the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door, as I won't be checking out until noon”! Oh how I love my sister Carol...

Welcome to DC Trudi Lacey! I am excited that Trudi will be joining our Mystic staff, after Vanessa Nygaard resigned for personal reasons, and will stay in California at this time. Trudi brings a great deal of knowledge about the WNBA, and has worked with the very best players in the league. I am looking forward to having Trudi work alongside the rest of the staff. She brings a ton of energy, is passionate about the defensive end of the floor, and will be a huge asset to our perimeter players in particular. I can already tell by our conference calls that our staff has great chemistry and will work together well! And I can't say enough about Mikhail, our team ops. manager, for keeping us updated on every NCAA game being played. My cell phone rings before EVERY game, as he wants to make sure I KNOW he is taping the game! How is that for efficient? :)

Here is a good one for you...

I am not sure Angela Taylor, has taken a day off since taking the job in DC! A tireless worker, our new GM has just informed me that she is going to start cooking and “fixing nice meals at home!” First of all, her current meals consist mainly of M&Ms, french fries, and chocolate cookies. Secondly, she is never home long enough to open up the refrigerator, let alone the oven! So, not really believing that this was going to actually take place, I strolled up to her apartment to watch the first round of NCAA games with her. I was NOT surprised to see her sitting there watching three televisions at one time, and typing on her computer. I WAS surprised to see her take six seasoned chicken wings out of the oven, along with a twice baked potato. And of course, there was dessert...an entire pan of rice krispy treats on the counter. I swear, she bought everything from Harris Teeter!!!

I am very anxious for our staff to get to DC, which will be the beginning of April. We will also have a few players in town next month, working out with our staff, in preparation for our 2009 season. The rest of our team is finishing up their overseas play, as Alana tells me quite often “30 days and counting”. They are all playing extremely well overseas, which will make our Mystics training camp quite competitive. With only 15 training camp spots, and ultimately 11 roster spots, the WNBA will be fun to watch this summer! I hope to see you all at the Verizon Center this summer!

Coach Plank

Monday, March 23rd - Megan Burda talks about sleep, Easter and the upcoming Mystics season.

Good morning and happy Monday!

Finally….a less chaotic week lies ahead! And that means more sleep and more energy. With St. Patrick’s Day last week and all the festivities that go along with it, I will finally get a week of relaxation. My sleep finally started yesterday as I got a whopping 15 hrs of sleep, the most I have probably gotten total all last week.

Besides the sleep that I have been treasuring, I have also been looking forward to the Easter holiday, one of my favorites. Easter also means that I am one step closer to the beach and warm weather. In addition to my lazy beach days, Easter also means that I will be able to shop once April 12th comes and goes. This year, I had to give up shopping to see if I could do it since it was becoming a problem. It has been a struggle thus far but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel so I think I am going to make it. This is one of the hardest years for lent, behind me giving up peanut butter and jelly two years ago….that was the worse.

During this month of March madness tournament days, I can feel the office getting geared up for the season and ready to get a move on our 2009 changes. We have had many and I am anxious to see what new improvements occur on the court starting May 28th. New coach, new GM, new players, new attitude….should be exciting to experience.

Since I’m well rested and ready to go, it’s time to get this week started. Until next time…

GO MYSTICS.
Megan

Friday, March 20th - Eboni Tyler looks forward to renewing Mystics season ticket holders.

Hey Mystics Fans,

I am back! Twice in one month. I know you’re wondering who is doing the blog scheduling. Well, as you can see…it isn’t me. Since my last blog my dog District laid me out for talking about him. Check out the picture mid-bark about talking about him in my blog. That went on for about 25 minutes. I was trying to explain to him it was all in good fun as you can see he wasn’t feeling it. I apologized and we moved on.

It is SPRING! It is WNBA TIME! Long time waiting. But the time is finally here to get back out there and get this party started. This is the time when the Best of the Best of Women's basketball athletes strut their stuff as they compete through the hazy days of summer. The Mystics tip–off on June 7th at Verizon Center against the Atlanta Dream. We are about 3 1/2 weeks away from the WNBA Draft. And we have the #2 pick. Yes! #2… With the #2 pick in the Draft on April 9th, we are looking at a very talented group of women athletes that will bring a lot to this league. That is an awesome feeling to know that we are going to have one of the top players in college basketball in our arena this season. Make sure you tune in on April 9th to find out who your New Mystic Player will be. With Angela and Julie leading our Basketball Ops., we are looking pretty good Mystics Fans. I believe that this season is going to be a very special one. I would hate for anyone to miss out. For those of you that haven’t renewed your 2009 season, here in the office we are still working on renewing you for our ‘09 season. My colleagues and I are working hard to make your Mystics experience a memorable one. And in these coming weeks, we will be pushing harder then ever to get you back for next season. You will be receiving phone calls, emails and much more from your account reps. Hoping to hear the good news that you are renewing with us for ‘09.

Mystics Fans, I am excited about this season. We are definitely working on building a more competitive team for you this year. With our GM and Coaching staff, things are really looking up. Plus, we have brought back Chas who will be bring great leadership and team spirit back to the team. As Chas says “the Mystics have employed #44, you have to expect more.” Plus our coaching staff is bringing fresh ideas and talent to the table. I tell you, I will be very surprised if the Mystics don’t do very well this season. Expect Great Mystics fans because this year, it’s As Real As It Gets.

Until Next Time…
Eboni Tyler

Thursday, March 19th - Greg Bibb checks in.

I hope everyone had a great St. Patrick’s Day. It certainly is a fun holiday. The passing of St. Patty’s Day puts us on the doorstep of Spring and moves us within three weeks of the 2009 WNBA Draft. Mid-March also signifies the beginning of the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments. The WNBA season is inching closer and I’m truly excited for the start of training camp, now just two months away. Basketball is in the air! Here are some of my thoughts on the tournaments and more, this 19th day of March, 2009.

My Pick for the Men

I can’t remember an NCAA Tournament with a more wide open race than the 2009 edition. With tip off to the tourney today, there are at least a handful of teams that you could argue will be cutting down the nets on April 6. For me, I think it is a three-team race between Memphis, Louisville and Pittsburgh. While I think all three make it to the Final Four, Memphis’ lack of size will eventually cost them a trip to the championship game where Pitt will beat the Cardinals to claim the men’s NCAA basketball championship. The Panthers are one of the most balanced teams in the country, they have three legitimate scorers and they are extremely well coached. Look for Pittsburgh to celebrate in Detroit on April 6.

My Pick for the Women

I wish I had some great thought on how a team can upend Connecticut, but I just don’t. The Huskies have it all…a great point guard, a solid post game and the best player in the country in Maya Moore. The also have a good coach and a killer instinct. UCONN beat their ranked opponents by an average of over 30 points this season…30 points! They also won every game by at least 10 points and they look like best team in the land by a mile. With that being said, the team which I believe could give Connecticut the most trouble is Maryland. The Terps, who wouldn’t face UCONN until the championship game, have two first round WNBA draft picks in Kristi Tolliver and Marissa Coleman, the size and athleticism to match-up with the Huskies in the paint and most importantly, championship experience. Maryland is the hottest team in the country and playing their best ball at the right time. I look for the Terps to face the Huskies in the final game with the nutmeg state ultimately celebrating yet another women’s basketball national championship.

The Road for the Red Foxes

My alma mater enters the tournament as a 12-seed and has a tough opening round game against the University of Virginia. Marist has advanced past the first round of the tournament in each of the last two seasons, but this could be the Red Foxes stiffest opening round test yet. If Marist does get past UVA, they will most likely face a quality University of California team out of the Pac 10. A win there would deliver the aforementioned Huskies in a Sweet 16 date. Hopefully Marist can get a win or two and continue to advance the program. We’ll see what happens. Don’t forget to watch out for junior Rachel Fitz, one of the best kept secrets in the game and a future WNBA draft pick.

Welcome to the Dance

I’m interested to see South Dakota State compete in the big dance. In their first year of qualifying to play in the tournament, the Jackrabbits are 31-2 and a seven-seed. They face 10th-seeded TCU in the opening round and would most likely get second-seeded Baylor in a second round match-up.

Players to Watch

I’m curious to see how far DeWanna Bonner can take the Auburn Tigers. During the SEC Championship Game, Vanderbilt was successful in keeping the ball out of her hands and the result was a big win for the Commodores. How far can Bonner carry the Tigers come tourney time?

Likewise, the fortunes of Louisville rely heavily on the tournament performance of Angel McCoughtry. The high-scoring sensation will need to string together a bunch of big games if the Cardinals are going to advance to a regional final where they most likely will run into Maryland.

Speaking of Maryland and the aforementioned Coleman and Tolliver, how great of a story would it be for these two seniors to lead the Terrapins back to a national championship game after winning it all as freshmen in 2005-06? Can you say story book ending?

Finally, how can you not keep your eye on Courtney Paris? The dominating Sooner has promised to refund her athletic scholarship if Oklahoma doesn’t win it all. To do so Paris and company will most likely have to get through Tolliver, Coleman and Maryland in a national semi-final game before facing Connecticut in the final. Just in case you forgot, Oklahoma and Connecticut met on November 30 and the Huskies won by 28.

Quote of the Week

“Courage is not the failure to recognize fear; it is the refusal to accept its offer.”

Five Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• Check out ABC’s new show, “Castle” on Mondays at 10pm…good stuff.

• The Mystics’ recognition of our “Founding Fans” is going to be special. I’m excited to unveil the plans in the coming weeks.

• The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the state of Washington’s oldest morning newspaper, has stopped printing the news after 146 years of business. The paper has moved entirely online, eliminating home delivery to 117,600 weekly readers…the future is really upon us. Ironically, I read about this on the Internet.

• I’m really ready for Spring…bring on the 70-degree weather.

• Can you believe the Mystics home opener is just 80 days away!

Until next time,
Go Mystics!

Wednesday, March 18th - Nicole Jones shares her thoughts on high school and college basketball.

Hey Mystics Fans,

What a spot to be in. Yesterday, our GM Angela gave us her thoughts on the make up of the women’s NCAA Division I tournament. I’m sure that our COO Greg will give us his insight tomorrow. So, what does lil’ ‘ol me say in between these two? Well, I suppose I’ll keep it short and stay on the basketball train of thought. There’s really no concrete flow, just more random thoughts and questions, so please bear with me.

While there has been lots of talk about UCONN (and desirably so), I’m a bit tired of hearing about them. How about you? Even Coach Geno said so Monday night during his interview segment on the Selection show. While I think it’s highly unlikely, I’ll be quite excited should Temple knock UCONN out in the second round, assuming they make it past Florida. It could happen. All it takes is just one off night. I’m sure that would pretty much screw up everyone’s bracket!

What about Courtney Paris placing all that unneeded pressure on herself and her team? I do admire her confidence, but wonder where it’s been the last 3 years. She’s had other opportunities to win the title, correct? Maybe it’s just me. How does Ashley feel playing on the same team somewhat in her sister’s shadow?

The draft is just around the corner! I can’t wait to see who we draft or where all of the prospects will end up in general. Now that Atlanta has Michelle Snow, Chamique Holdsclaw, Ivory Latta, and Nikki Teasley, who will they select at #1? Will they even keep the #1 pick?

Lastly, what will it take for the WNBA to get the respect that it deserves? What is the disconnect between college fans and the WNBA? I just don’t understand it.

In local news…Congratulations to the Lady Raiders basketball team on their fifht straight Maryland 4A championship. Only one other team has earned this same recognition. And that was just over 20 years ago. I’m sure we’ll be talking about some of these young ladies in a few years, should they continue to play in college.

Thanks for the time.

Nicole

Tuesday, March 17th - Angela Taylor recaps the excitement of March Madness.

Hey Mystics Fans,

Get your brackets ready! It is time to dance. Eighteen Days…64 teams…63 games televised live by ESPN (thank you ESPN)…the best of college women’s hoops. It’s March Madness time. As Terrell Owens would say, “Get your popcorn ready!”

The build-up to the NCAA tournament has been with some exciting stories on both the men’s and the women’s side. How about Syracuse’s 6 OT game versus UCONN in the Big East Men’s Tournament? That was an unbelievable start to March Madness. I felt exhausted just watching the game’s highlights the next day on SportsCenter. How about the amazing shot by Cal’s Ashley Walker with 0.3 seconds remaining in the game? Which (sadly for a senior hoping to win her first Pac-10 Championship) was later ruled no good because the rules state she couldn’t ‘catch and shoot’ for it to count.

Yes, the conference tourneys were certainly a nice prelude to this week’s action. But before we can get to the games, we have a few days to analyze and overanalyze the brackets. My mom has already begun and I’m sure you all have as well.

I know that there is always much anticipation around who receives a #1 seed (and more intriguing, who felt they deserved a #1 seed & didn’t get one), but I tend to not focus on the seeds and instead look at the match-ups (and location of those match-ups) to offer more insight.

For the players, fans, and coaches from each program, there is certainly some reward in knowing that all of your hard work has paid off and you’ve been rewarded with a high seed, but sometimes seeds don’t matter if you are matched up against a foe that plays a style that you struggle with (even if you are the better team on paper or have a higher seed) or if you have to play someone on their home court.

That is why I think that, despite receiving a #5 seed (their lowest seed ever), Tennessee will be a dangerous opponent in the tournament. First, simply having legendary coach Pat Summitt on the opposing bench is somewhat intimidating. Then you see all of the orange in the stands and get distracted by the incessant playing of “Rocky Top”. All of that is enough to give the Lady Vols a 10-point head start.

A few tournament musings:

• Congratulations to Mystics assistant coach (and UTSA associate head coach) Luby Lichonczak on his team winning their conference tournament and getting into the big dance! Good luck against Baylor!

• I’m still not a big fan of the 16 pre-determined sites, which make it possible for a lower seeded team to have home-court advantage in the 1st/2nd round (i.e. Texas A&M in South Bend, Louisville in Baton Rouge, Auburn in Piscataway, etc.).

• While I love how both the men’s and women’s pairing shows broadcast live from different venues allowing us to see the sheer elation on the faces of these kids when they hear their team mentioned, I feel bad for those teams who are relegated to watching quietly on camera as 64 (or 65 in the men’s tourney) other teams realize their dream of making the tournament.

• Guard play is key to making a solid run in the tournament, so keep your eyes out for those teams with great guards.

• Some teams to watch that we don’t hear about that often: Temple, Marist (Greg Bibb’s alma mater), Prairie View A&M (Cynthia “Raise the Roof” Cooper continues to do great things with that program), South Dakota State, and San Diego State.

My picks for the Final Four in The Lou:

• UCONN (I know, not much of a stretch)

• Maryland (Like I mentioned earlier, great guard play is key in March)

• Oklahoma (Courtney gets a chance to keep her $64K scholarship)

• Stanford (Don’t tell me you were surprised I would pick my Cardinal)

Get your pencils & brackets ready for a great 3-week tribute to women’s basketball.

Well, one of the most anticipated free agent signings happened last week and while I must admit that I (and most of Mystics Nation) would have loved to see Tina Thompson draining three’s in Mystics blue this season, I am glad that Tina has decided to delay her retirement from the W and can appreciate that she will now have the opportunity to return to Los Angeles to play in front of her hometown crowd.

March does mean all hoops all of the time, but before I go, I’d like to fill you in on an amazing event I was able to attend last night in New York City. The Jackie Robinson Foundation has been doing great work in our communities for 26 years. The foundation’s mission is to provide education and leadership development opportunities for students of color. The foundation has helped over 1,300 students over its existence with 97% of those participants going on to graduate from college. Simply amazing!

The JRF honored Robert Redford for his social contributions, Robin Roberts for her amazing journey through the media industry, and Dr. Benjamin Carson for his medical genius. Their achievements speak for themselves, but I was completely impressed with the empowering messages they each shared with us last night.

Dr. Sheila Johnson sits on the board of the JRF and as with the recent release of her documentary “A Powerful Noise”, continues to do great things around the world through her philanthropic efforts.

As President Obama stated in recent weeks, it is our responsibility as a country to ensure that every child has access to a quality education. I know these are tough economic times, but I implore you to find a way (financial or otherwise) to give a child the gift of an education. It can be simply reading to your child at night, volunteering at an after-school program, bringing a student to a Mystics game to watch educated women play a game they love, or donating an old book to a charity. Anything you do is a step in the right direction.

To find out more about the Jackie Robinson Foundation, go to www.jackierobinson.org.

Twenty-three days until the WNBA Draft….

Until next time Mystics Fans, enjoy March Madness!

Go Mystics,
Angela

Monday, March 16th - Liz Sellers looks forward to the change of season and to the upcoming Mystics draft.

Hey Mystics Fans,

We have now passed the half-way point of March, which can only mean one thing…spring is near. Yes, we have had some occasional peaks into the future with 65-70 degree days but I won’t be sold on the idea until snow flurries and winter coats are officially off the map and put away. Spring is my favorite season, with fall taking a close second. Too many years in upstate New York has put snow in my "least favorite weather" column and summer in DC, as I learned for the first time in 2008, is just hot. So I hope as the old saying goes March will come in like a lion and go out like a lamb.

The anticipation for the 2009 Mystics season is building. Our general manager and coaching staff have been hard at work scouting the country for future Mystics players. As current players share their experiences through the Pass the Ball blog, it is great to hear their passion for basketball plus all the interesting places they have visited while playing overseas.

The WNBA Draft will have come and gone before it is my turn to write again, but I am very excited to see the rising talent make the transition from college to the professional level. Be sure to tune in April 9th to see who the Mystics select!

I look forward to next time…
Liz

Friday, March 13th - Erin Mitchell catches us on the latest in her life.

Hey Mystics Fans!

There’s usually so much time between my blog entries that I have an abundance of things to share. Since it’s only been a month, I’ll catch you up on a few highlights.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of driving to Connecticut to visit with friends and celebrate my Godson JT’s 9th birthday. We had such a great time. JT has always had fun themed parties. This year was a glow in the dark theme and if I never see another glow stick, I’ll be a happy person. He’s definitely one of the coolest kids I know. He’s an up and coming basketball player and like most nine year olds, he’s also a video game expert. I had my first Guitar Hero lesson from him and one of his cousins. By the end of the weekend I was convinced that I’d buy myself a game system just so that I could play Guitar Hero and hopefully increase my skill level to that of a 9 and 10 year old! I’ll keep you posted. I’m looking forward to him, his mom and my Goddaughter Jordyn visiting at the end of the month.

As you’ve heard, Chasity Melvin is back! I had a chance to meet her on Monday night after she greeted some non-renewed season ticket holders at an event we held in the Dewar’s Club. In passing, she learned that during our staff basketball games I take on the challenge of playing the role of coach, referee, cheerleader and scorekeeper all while sitting in a chair on the sideline and talking on my cell phone (and most notably, wearing pearls). She noted how talented one must be to be able to multitask at such a high level and even shared one of her many talents with me – she chews gum while playing basketball! HA!!! After a shared laugh, we both agreed that we’re looking forward to this summer and she can’t wait to get back to DC in April.

Last on my list of “happenings” is my plan to move. I know you’ve read about my experience when moving here from Atlanta. Thankfully, this is a local move so hopefully there won’t be any drama related to it. I’ve gotten offers from a few friends and co-workers to help in the progress. I hope they’re ready to handle all that surrounds an Erin Mitchell move. Keep your fingers crossed that everything works out for the best.

We’re counting down to draft day here in the office. I’ve spoken with a few of you in regards to whom we should pick at #2. Based on all conversations I’ve had and knowing the level of talent that is in the class of 2009, I’m confident that the Mystics will have a great player added to our roster on April 9th! Can’t wait to see you all this summer!!

Go Mystics!
Erin

Thursday, March 12th - Greg Bibb checks in.

As we head into the middle part of March, there is much to look forward to, including daylight savings time, warmer temperatures and one of my favorite holidays. Tuesday is St. Patrick’s Day, a time when we all celebrate being Irish. While my last name is Bibb, my grandmothers held the maiden names of McCann and McCormick, so my family will most definitely be wearing our green and enjoying the day. Here are a few other things on my mind this 12th day of March, 2009.

Thanks Chasity

Recently re-acquired center Chasity Melvin was in town on Monday to make a few ticket calls for the front office and to help us host a non-renewed season ticket holder event. This was my first opportunity to meet #44 and I found her to be funny and engaging. Most importantly, I think she is really excited about wearing a Mystics uniform again. In fact, it looks like the former North Carolina State standout will be arriving in Washington in April to prepare for the season… a full month before training camp. I can’t wait to see her in action.

All-Stars

Congrats to Mystics guard Alana Beard and forward Crystal Langhorne who recently competed in the first Euroleague All-Star Game. Alana scored 17 points while Crystal contributed 10 quality minutes off the bench. The high level of performance being demonstrated by a number of our players is a good sign for the upcoming 2009 campaign.

Slumdog Millionaire

When it comes to movies, I’m not one who has to see all of the Oscar-nominated films. I usually lean toward the mindless comedies, action thrillers or occasional romantic comedy to please my wife; however, with the grandparents babysitting Adelyn, Tara and I had the rare opportunity to catch a movie over the weekend and boy did we make the right choice. Slumdog Millionaire ran away with all of the hardware at this year’s Academy Awards and after seeing the moving, I totally understand why. If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you do…it’s worth your time.

Pulling One Over on the Big Guy

My dad is one of those people who you just can’t fool. In fact, I can’t think of one time in my 35 years of life that I have been able to trick him…until Sunday. Dad recently turned 70 and to celebrate this significant birthday we planned a surprise party back in my home tome of Hershey, PA. Dad thought we were having a quiet family lunch at our favorite restaurant. Instead he was greeted by nearly 60 friends, family and co-workers from every stage of his life. To see him completely surprised was a thrill. To see him absolutely enjoy and appreciate the day was even better.

March Birthdays

Speaking of birthdays, there will be a couple celebrated here in the Mystics office this month. Account Executive Heather Locke will celebrate her special day on March 13 and Director of Community Relations Nicole Boden is having a birthday on March 31. Happy birthday to Heather and Nicole.

Quote of the Week

“Don’t be a hostage to yesterday, be in command of tomorrow.”

Five Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• The Utah Jazz lost in Atlanta last night…after winning 12 straight. Remember, Utah is my dark horse pick come playoff time.

• The Marist College women’s basketball team took care of business and won the team’s fourth consecutive MAAC Tournament Championship. Next stop…the NCAA Tournament. Look for the Red Foxes to be an eight or nine seed.

• Courtney Paris has made a unique promise, offering to refund her college scholarship if the Oklahoma Sooners don’t win the NCAA Championship. I appreciate Courtney’s confidence and the added excitement it brings to the women’s tournament, but I’m wondering if she has forgotten about that little team from Storrs, CT.

• Congrats to the University of Maryland women’s b-ball team for capturing the ACC regular season and tournament championship. Maryland clearly deserves a number one seed. I also think the Terps would provide the most interesting match-up against UCONN if the two teams were to meet in the tournament. Stay tuned.

• Four weeks from today the Mystics participate in the WNBA Draft!

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, March 11th - Lauren Lafayette talks about the spring-like weather enjoyed this past weekend.

Good Morning Mystics Friends and Family,

Don’t you just love DC in the springtime? Well, I guess I cannot say spring yet but this pseudo-spring like weather we have been having around the nation’s capital has just been fabulous!!! On Saturday, when I woke up I was just ecstatic to see that the temperature outside was nearly 70 degrees. Immediately, I grabbed the leash and took my dog out for a walk around the neighborhood. The sight of the masses of people walking outside with their tank tops, flip flops and shorts made me want to retire my winter coat immediately!! Nice weather and an extra hour of daylight per day was all I needed to begin contemplating my summer wardrobe.

However, I was extremely disappointed when I woke up this morning to discover that the temperature was a low 36 degrees. For me, the weather was not especially shocking as I am from a state where it is treacherously cold for nine months out of the year; but I expected more from the weather in DC. So as I began to put on my coat and take the dog out this morning, I struggled to stay optimistic as I was faced with the cloudy skies, low temperature and slight drizzle. Gosh, I hope spring comes soon because I do not know how much more I can take!!!

How are you preparing for spring in the District? Give me some ideas of DC specific events I should check out this spring…

Till next time enjoy the rest of the winter and see you in the summer!!!!

Tuesday, March 10th - Julie Plank talks about what is happening in her world.

Hello Mystics Fans!

What a great weekend for women’s college basketball! WOW! Some unbelievable performances in the conference tournaments…oh so fun to watch! How about Marissa Coleman from Maryland? I think she was “on a mission” to bring that ACC tournament title back to College Park, MD! She and Kristi Toliver were very impressive, and showed how important senior (veteran) leadership is to a team.

Congratulations to Brenda Frese and her staff for an outstanding season. I know Crystal Langhorne is one happy alumna, watching from over in Lithuania!

Speaking of happy alumni…my Ohio State Buckeyes took home the Big Ten trophy with a close victory over Purdue, in Conseco Fieldhouse. Congratulations go out to Jim Foster for winning the Big Ten title, as well as Coach of the Year. I was sporting my red today in the office! Some co-workers were wondering if it was representing Maryland (the local favorite), Ohio State (the alma mater), Stanford (where I spent 10 great years), or Marist (for Greg Bibb)??? I guess it was for “all of the above”!!!

Dewanna Bonner, from Auburn, continued to bring her A-game to the SEC tournament, with a couple of stellar games in Little Rock. At 6’4, she is a nightmare to guard, and makes things happen at both ends of the floor. She certainly showed why she was SEC Player of the Year! Vanderbilt was impressive in throughout the tournament, and was able to hold Bonner below her average in the title game. Christina Wirth and company deserved the SEC title, with their consistent play in Little Rock.

Speaking of performances…how about Alana Beard in the European All-star game on Sunday? Alana was all over the court, nailing 3’s, pushing the tempo, and showing off her “killer crossover”. She put up some great numbers (17 pts), while her teammate Crystal Langhorne ended up with 6 boards in 10 minutes. So proud of both of them, as they continue their outstanding play this off-season!

Chasity Melvin was in DC yesterday for a “meet & greet” with some potential season-ticket holders. It was great seeing her, as she is overly excited to be back in Washington, and ready to lead this team back to the playoffs. I am ecstatic to have her back, as we had a chance to meet and talk about “our plans” for this summer. We look forward to her coming back early to training camp, to workout with our coaching staff! I absolutely love her high energy and look for her to have a great season in ’09!

Let’s change the subject…how about the gorgeous weekend we had here in DC? The weather was awesome and I was so happy to be able to take advantage of it, before settling down to watch 8 tournament games each day! I could not wait to get outside to walk along 4 mile run. Little did I know, it was almost 70 degrees, as I headed out in my fleece pants, turtleneck, and fleece vest! I think people thought I was a bit crazy, as they passed me by in their shorts and tank tops. Oh, I am soooooo ready for the warm weather!!!

The Big East tournament finals will feature two of the very best seniors in the country, in Angel McCoughtry (Louisville) and Renee Montgomery (UConn). It should be an exciting game to watch this evening! And don’t forget to check out the Big 12 and Pac 10 tournaments this weekend. How about Courtney Paris, from Oklahoma, guaranteeing a National Title or she will re-pay her entire scholarship back to the University? I should say she is “on a mission”! I am sure that message will be on opposing team’s bulletin boards, as part of the pre-game talks?

I hope you all are excited as I am about our ’09 season! I talk to all of our players daily, and they are working extremely hard to improve their individual games this off-season. We are only about 2 months away from the start of training camp! My staff will be here in DC starting April 1st, which I am really excited about. And yes, the college draft is only a month away! We have some great options with our #2 pick, and believe this person will be a great addition to our Mystics’ team!

That is it for now…
Coach Plank

Monday, March 9th - Heather Locke introduces herself to the Mystics fans.

Welcome to my World Mystics Fans!

Thanks for kicking off the work week by checking out my first blog as part of the Mystics family! I joined the Mystics staff on February 23rd and my life in the District has been a whirlwind of activity for the past two weeks. Not the destructive type of whirlwind, just the busy kind!

I have decided that the best way to launch my first entry is to recap my introduction to the Mystics organization:

By the end of week one I was hoping that no one was sick of my notepads full of questions. Luckily, the whole group was extremely helpful and made a unique impact on my first week. After two weeks of “learning the ropes” I am getting more familiar with our goals here at the Mystics. I have to say, I get more excited every day about the upcoming Mystics season and all that we are doing to prepare here in the office.

It seems like there have been some big changes in the organization and I can’t wait to see all of you at the Mystics games shaking the seats in the Verizon Center!

Fun First Week Notes:

Mike and Maria introduced me to Sushi “Happy Hour” lunch and I am psyched to know that Sushi is in such close proximity to the office!

Tim exposed me to my first Chipotle experience after we “Rocked the Red” at the Caps game. I highly recommend the steak and I definitely became addicted because I have already frequented the Chipotle near my house since then.

Sarah and I explored the fast food options on the way to Howard County, Maryland to honor the Mystics High School Team of the Week. The young women in the Championship game were amazing and took me back to my high school “career”.

Good thing I just joined the YMCA because it seems like everything in my first week centered on food!!!

That brings us to the end of the day; it’s time to pick my daily game for ESPN’s Beat the Streak. A certain person who will remain unnamed (but sits next to me in the office) is done for in our newly developed “Beat the Streak” head to head match!

GO MYSTICS!

Heather

Friday, March 6th - Eboni Tyler talks about her main man, District.

Hey Mystics Fans,

Ok…I am in the process of moving and the house that I am moving into is currently under renovations, so my BFF and I had to move back in with my mother. PAUSE for comments….I‘ll wait! Yes, my mother…who, might I add, is also a Renewed Mystics Season Ticket Holder and probably wondering why I am telling the world. HI MOM!

So let me explain. I have an American Pit Bull Terrier named District and he is my BFF. He is eight months old and is ripping my mom’s house to shreds. We have been living with my mom for about two months. He is like a Hoover - he eats and gets into everything locked or unlocked. It doesn’t matter, he is in it. Don’t turn your back, don’t even blink or he’s got you and/or your stuff. You might not notice right away because he is a crafty little son of a gun. I took him to training which he finished back in January at little rascals on Georgia Ave... He got rave reviews for being one of the best puppies in the class and that is not just me being his mother. He was Great! But when I brought him to my mom’s house, the lessons that he so had nailed down in class went out the window.

I got District when he was about six weeks old. He is nothing like Nicole B.’s "Charlie". He doesn’t pose for great photos either. Speaking of pictures, my mother insisted that District be taken to Pet Smart for a Christmas Photo with Santa. Yes MYSTICS fans you heard me ---- with SANTA. I think that she was under the impression that I had a "Charlie" or something. Being a good daughter, I took him to the store and of course the Santa looked at District and said sarcastically "He’s taking a picture? Hmmmmm…OK!" And I replied "YES!" Well, the poor Santa ended up wrestling with District because at the time, District was a little over 45 pounds. He is packing about 60 pounds now. Santa got a little frustrated to the point he removed his glasses. To make a long story short, by the time they snapped the photo, Santa no longer looked like Santa and District’s belly was the main part of the photo that came framed. So no "Charlie" here…

Here is a photo of my main man District catching some zzz’s across my lap. He is not really into the camera when he is up and moving around. I know what you are thinking "Charlie who"…. It is true, District is a cutie. Sorry Nicole B.! LOL!

Until Next Time…
Eboni Tyler

Thursday, March 5th - Greg Bibb checks in.

Happy Thursday. It’s hard to believe but March is underway. That means we’re just a few weeks away from the start of spring and just a few months away from the beginning of another WNBA season. The 2009 campaign will be the League’s 13th while the Mystics will take the court for year #12.

While the arrival of warm weather and the WNBA season brings optimism, it’s hard not to feel stress, worry and despair around the economy. The stock market is sliding, people are losing their homes, businesses are laying off employees and banks are going out of business. These hard times are affecting all of us, in every facet of business. Here in the sports industry, we are particularly vulnerable as people cutback on discretionary spending. After all, what’s more important, having a home to live in, feeding your family, or having fun? The answer is pretty clear, isn’t it?

Despite today’s troublesome economic reality, I think there is, and always will be, a place in our lives for entertainment and sports. In fact, I truly believe sports are more important than ever. First, sports are ingrained in us as part of our culture. As far back as you can trace our nation’s history, you can find sports playing a major social role. In addition, sports provide a great escape. We all need a break from our daily problems, concerns and challenges. What better way to get away than to engage sports. If you are spectator you can get lost in all of the things that make sports great…competition, drama, remarkable performances and unique skills. If you are a participant, sport provides not only an escape, but also a release. Your body needs activity and sports provide it to deliver one of the most effective natural stress releases.

Here at the Mystics, I think we present an unmatched value proposition in terms of sports-related offerings. Our athletes are world class. They are the best on the planet in what they do and there is no higher level of play for female basketball….period. Yet we offer this game and this opportunity to escape for around $20 per ticket on average. Thus, we are a hybrid. We’re major league sports with minor league pricing. We are where men and women, boys and girls can come see amazing female athletes and role models for literally dimes on the dollar in comparison to other major league sporting events. We are a place where a family of four can visit Verizon Center, watch the game, have something to eat and do it all for less than $100. I’m very proud of this fact.

Moreover, we are a place where you can purchase a season ticket for as little as $119. That’s 18 games of WNBA basketball for $6.61 per game. Where else can you receive over two hours of entertainment for less than $7? You can’t do it at the movies. You can’t do it at the bowling alley or the pool hall. You would even be challenged to do it at a fast food restaurant, assuming you would want to spend two hours at the play cage.

My point is this…sports are great for a host of reasons, including the escape it provides from our daily lives. In the WNBA and the Mystics we have a wonderful example of what is good about sports and we provide it a price that makes the opportunity accessible to almost everyone. So if a summer vacation isn’t going to be a reality this year, if money is tight, think about staying local and buying a season ticket package. If your family struggles to find a way to afford entertainment, think about attending a game or two. If you are a current fan and/or season ticket holder, tell your friends, your family, your neighbors and your co-workers about the Mystics. Bring them along. Let them escape with you to Verizon Center this summer. I promise you, it will be money well spent.

Quote of the Week

“No man ever woke up on the top of the mountain; he awakened one day and started his climb.”

Five Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• The NBA lost one of the League’s most colorful and important owners with the recent passing of Utah’s Larry Miller. The Jazz are best known for Stockton to Malone, but it was Miller who stepped up and saved the franchise from leaving Salt Lake City in the 1980’s and it was Miller who spearheaded the Jazz’s ascension to the top tier of the NBA. Rest in peace Larry.

• In October, I predicted the Caps would finish the season with 106 points…we’ll see how they do down the stretch, but I think I’ll be pretty close with my prediction.

• It will be strange to see Marvin Harrison in a uniform next season that does not include a blue horseshoe on the helmet.

• Congrats to the Marist College Red Foxes…six straight women’s basketball MAAC regular season championships and counting.

• Just five weeks until the WNBA Draft!

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, March 4th - Rebecca Hunt talks about time spent with family and the upcoming women’s NCAA tournament.

Hey Mystics Fans!

It has been awhile since I blogged, and I think it is colder today than it was in January!! I do not know about you but I am really ready for warmer weather. Hopefully everyone is back at work today with no delays. I hear we are supposed to get some warmer weather in time for the weekend and I am keeping my fingers crossed.

I had a chance to get home over the weekend and visit my family; we had a birthday celebration. I got a chance to hang out with my two-year old nephew; he turned two in December and is talking a mile a minute. His favorite phrases this weekend were "Go Hokies" and "Grandma in the kitchen cooking". Grandma made fried quail, mashed potatoes, green beans and biscuits for lunch on Sunday. I do love home cooking, but generally I try to limit my sweet tea and "fried" intake to a minimum. I was also able to catch the Lady Vols play Vandy Sunday night, the Lady Vols pulled it out but it was a shaky win. Vandy has really impressed me over the past couple of seasons. I am getting really excited as tournament time approaches! Every year my mama and I catch some of the women’s NCAA tournament, usually a couple of rounds are in Greensboro or Raleigh but we have also gone to Norfolk. I am hoping someone will knock off UCONN.

Things have been very busy in the Mystics office; we are also getting ready for tournament time and then the draft. We are close to finalizing our media buy for the 2009 season, we have started planning for Ladies Night, and our Women2Women initiative just had its second event last week at Morton’s Steakhouse. We wrapped up the 2009 High School Team of the Week program last week. We also have most of our collateral printed, including pocket schedules and have been distributing those. Hard to believe we are three months away from our season!

Take care and remember the Mystics are "As Real As It Gets".

Becca

Tuesday, March 3rd - Angela Taylor shares her travel adventures.

Hey Mystics Fans,

Can you believe it? March Madness is finally upon us, unfortunately the madness the past couple of days brought had less to do with the on-court buzzer beaters and tournament upsets and more to do with this crazy weather we've been experiencing. All I can say is that in the 15+ years that I have been traveling to scout and/or recruit, I have been pretty lucky. Unfortunately, my luck ran out this past weekend as Julie and I headed out to do some scouting.

First, I made the mistake of thinking that because I was headed to a warmer climate, that I could leave my layers and sweaters in DC. Wrong move. As we landed in Atlanta, we were met with an unending rain. Honestly, I think it rained for 24 straight hours (didn't pack an umbrella, so I was drenched for most of the day). The good thing was that we were able to grab lunch with women's basketball legend Teresa Edwards before watching some practices and games. We all know T is one of the best to ever hit the court, but what I appreciate the most is that she is an amazing person as well. Lunch was certainly a highlight of our Friday.

Little did we know that Friday's rain was just the appetizer for what would turn out to be a meteorologist's dream weekend (chock full of lots of airtime for your local weatherperson). I woke up on Saturday morning to thunder, lightening, and sirens. Apparently we experienced a tornado or "tornado-like" weather, so the sirens turned out to be at the site where a car was overturned and trees were downed (all apparently less than a mile from us). All followed by more rain.

But the icing on the cake was when folks who knew we were hoping for a sunny day were joking that snow was on the way on Sunday morning. Neither Julie or I believed this could be possible, so we ignored the warning. I woke up on Sunday to a text sent from Julie, who had jokingly said that there was 3 inches of snow overnight. I immediately hopped up and looked out the window to some actual snow. She apparently was trying to play a prank on me. But she had no idea that it actually had started snowing overnight and that big puffy snowflakes were still barreling down from above. The joke was on her!!!

Truth be known the joke was on both of us because our flight back to DC on Sunday night was cancelled later that afternoon and the airline wasn't able to book us on a flight until Tuesday morning.

However, we are not complaining because our our Mystics family in the DC area was also hit by a snow storm on Monday morning. As Greg wrote in a previous blog, our buddy Punxsutawney Phil's prediction for six more weeks of winter was dead on. We should take that guy to Vegas next year (or figure out a way to make sure he does NOT see his shadow). March has definitely jumped on the scene like a lion.

So as I write this blog at midnight, I am sequestered (not really, but I always wanted to say that) in an Atlanta hotel hoping that our 7:30am flight is on time.

Despite the madness that March's weather has brought, I am starting to get excited about the upcoming conference and NCAA tournaments. I think we got a little sense of the David vs. Goliath match-up tonight when Rutgers showed just how dangerous they could be in a one and done tourney format as they gave Connecticut a run for their money as the Huskies tried to finish the regular season off undefeated. (Before I go on, I should thank the staff at Ruby Tuesday's for turning two of their TVs to ESPN2, so that we could catch the game). I know that Jersey had its share of bad weather as well, so it was really nice to see that so many fans showed up to watch the big rivalry.

I also want to congratulate Coach Auriemma and his staff on another undefeated season. We watched a couple of UCONN practices and visited with Geno recently and continue to gain a greater respect for what his programs have accomplished over the years as you see how hard they work, how high expectations are, and how hard their players/staff work on a daily basis in practice.

We have actually spent a lot of time the last couple of months watching practices and games for some of the top seniors on our list and really feel that there is a solid group of players entering the draft this year. I personally am looking forward to seeing which senior(s) puts her team on her back, hits some buzzer beaters, and leads her team to Saint Louis for the Final Four. Not sure who the top four seeds will be when the bracket is announced on March 16th, but I do know that it's make or break time this week during conference tournaments for some teams trying to secure a good seed in the dance. I have a feeling there may be some surprises making it out of the 1st/2nd rounds. Thanks to ESPN, we will all be able to catch most of the action live.

Well we are a little more than five weeks away from the WNBA Draft on April 9th, and I can't wait. The excitement is building around our offices and I know you are all anxious to see who we pick at #2. The season (and warmer weather) will be here before you know it.

By the way, I heard that Punxsutawney also predicted that this was a great year to buy Mystics season tickets! He's been spot on thus far, so take his word for it and make sure you and your friends are on-board for the upcoming 2009 Mystics season!

Until next time...

Go Mystics,
Angela

Monday, March 2nd - Nicole Boden talks about the joys of Zumba, turning 28 and of course, Charlie.

Hello Mystics fans. It looks like it’s my turn again for Pass the Blog. So let me see if I can fill you in on what’s happening in my world since the last time I checked in back in December.

As Dana Simonelli mentioned in her blog last week, I have really started to get into Zumba. Have you tried it yet? Zumba is a fusion of Latin and International music that creates a dynamic, exciting, and effective fitness system. It’s a great workout. The instructor is so little and sweet and then when she turns on the music she turns into this other person. She says that she lost 80 pounds by just doing Zumba for 15 months. You burn about 800 calories in one class. It’s a lot of fun so if you haven’t tried it yet go ahead and give it a try. I busted out my Zumba dance moves a few weeks ago at my best friend's wedding in New York City. It looks a lot different when you’re dancing in a class than in the real world.

I’m trying to get into shape of course before the summer and before bathing suit season. I’ll get a little taste of warmer weather when I head out West to visit a friend of mine in Los Angeles. I found a very cheap ticket on Virgin Airlines so I’m looking forward to spending a few days out there around my birthday. Oh yes, my birthday is at the end of the month. I’ll be turning 28. I can’t believe I’ll be 28 but I don’t feel or look a day over 21. I’m kidding but I don’t have any hang ups about my birthday. It’s another year on earth and I plan on enjoying every moment of it.

I thought for this blog I would include a picture of my Charlie. He’s so sweet. This picture was taken last year around my birthday. We were on the Mall and we were flying kites and I took this of him. He should model don’t you think?? Haha well I hope to see everyone out at some Mystics games this season.

Take care,
Nicole