Mystics Receive Second Round Gift in Christmas

On April 11th, Trudi Lacey sat in the draft room hoping that her second round target would continue to fall to the Mystics at #23. Throughout the round, Lacey could be heard telling her staff “My Girl (Karima) Christmas is still on the board!” While Lacey waited for her turn in the draft, Karima Christmas, was finding another way to occupy her time.

“At the time I was actually working out, so i wasn't even watching the draft. Me and my other teammate we were in the weight room and then they came in and told me I was drafted, so I was excited at that point, but we just took a vow we weren't going to watch it we were just going see how it ended it up.”

When the pick finally came up Lacey dialed the WNBA office and grabbed Karima Christmas in the second round of the draft.

In just a few short weeks, Lacey’s draft hopes for her second round pick have come to fruition and through hard work both on and off the floor, the Mystics have found a second round gift in Christmas.

"Karima was not a surprise to me, I've been watching Karima for four years, it's one of the reasons I picked her, I told her and I told her team, I love her toughness, I love her versatility.”

A big reason behind her strong start is Christmas’ hard work off the floor. After arriving in D.C. one day after the start of training camp due to graduation, Christmas dove into the playbook and began absorbing Lacey’s offensive and defensive systems. Her ability to adapt and quickly pick up the schemes allowed Christmas to hit the ground running.

This hard work off the floor proved immediate dividends for Christmas on the court as in her preseason debut, the rookie out of Duke filled the stat sheet recording 11 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two blocks in a 60-57 preseason win over the New York Liberty.

"I told Karima that she was my rock star for the day,” said Lacey on Christmas’ play. “She played well. She started to feel more comfortable and it was good to see."

With the preseason now over, the Mystics are in full prep mode for their season opener on Saturday. After showing no signs of jitters in the preseason, Christmas is doing her best to continue her strong performance when the team tips-off the regular season.

"I’m kind of nervous, but the two exhibition games helped me prepare. Playing in my first WNBA game is something exciting, so I'm definitely going to be nervous, but once i get out there I think I'll be fine.”

While there may be an adjustment period with so many young new faces on the team, Lacey is excited about watching her young players develop.

"The more minutes, the more experience they get, the more they will grow and they will be able to help us."

With the encouragement of her coach and a strong work ethic, Karima Christmas is primed for a strong season in 2011.