Mystics Clinch Two, Seeking Third Straight
This past weekend the Washington Mystics proved that this time, they mean business from the jump. Connecticut-bound, the team hit the road to face the Sun in the 2009 season opener this past Saturday.
Outscoring Connecticut in both halves, the Mystics would managed to control the game, and would walked out of the Mohegan Sun Arena with the team’s first regular season victory (82-70). Leading scorers included Marissa Coleman who would finish with a team high 16 points, Monique Currie with 14 points and Lindsey Harding would also add 11 to the board.
“This win was due to a total team effort on the defensive end,” said Head Coach Julie Plank. “Connecticut is an excellent offensive team, and we did a nice job getting to the free-throw line and back out in transition. I was really proud of the way the girls played defensively.”
The Mystics would not be able to take a minute off of basketball, as they headed home only to prepare for their next match up against the Atlanta Dream the following afternoon.
The newly organized Mystics team “cat-walked” down a runway into an arena filled with anxious fans, who graciously welcomed their beloved team as well as the new faces of both coaches and players.
Hometown phenomenon and Mystics Rookie, Coleman, was greeted by a roar of cheers and applauds as she stepped onto the court in her first ever WNBA home opener. “It was great to see a lot of familiar faces from Maryland out there,” said Coleman. “And it felt really good to know that my parents were also in the stands supporting me and the rest of the team.”
Although the Mystics got off to a slow start in the first quarter, the team would get the boost they needed to gain command of the game as soon as Coleman and Matee Ajavon checked in and made some major plays. “Before going into the game the bench talked about what we needed to do to bring that spark,” said Coleman. “Once Matee, (Crystal) Langhorne, (Tasha) Humphrey and I got in the game, that’s exactly what we did.”
Tasha Humphrey, who has been struggling with an injury and missed most of preseason, checked into the game and contributed six points to the win. “I’ve always told our team that I think we have one of the deepest, if not the deepest bench in the WNBA this season,” said Plank. “It’s going to help us tremendously that every single player can come in and contribute at any given time.”
Superstar Alana Beard unloaded offensively on the Dream, finishing with a game high 27 points, leading her team to a 77-71 victory. “The first half was slow because we were still trying to feel everything out,” said Beard. “But in the second half, we got the entire team involved and came out with a different mentality.”
According to Coach Plank, Beard’s performance was due to the fact that she is beginning to get comfortable with her new team. “She didn’t play in the preseason game due to an ankle injury,” said Plank. “The game in Connecticut allowed her to get back into a flow with the new players, and she ended up playing great last night.”
Monday afternoon the team got back into the gym to practice and the overall mood was high now that the team has clinched two straight wins to begin the season. The Mystics will strive to obtain a third one on Wednesday, as they make their way to Detroit to take on the defending league champs, Shock.
According to Ajavon, the team is nowhere near satisfied with just two wins, and feels no pressure about Wednesday night as they remain focused on their own game and not that of the Shock.
“Now we need to continue to work on our defense and develop more consistency on offense,” said Ajavon. “Although the two wins this past weekend were major accomplishments for the organization, we can’t be set on just that, we face Detroit soon so that’s where our minds are at right now.”