October 2009

Friday, October 30th - Kim Peters introduces herself to the Mystics fans.

Hey Mystics fans!

My name is Kim Peters and I recently joined the Mystics' amazing sales staff as an Account Executive. I moved here about 3 weeks ago from Uniontown, Pennsylvania (about an hour outside of Pittsburgh). I graduated in May of this year from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and spent my time this summer working as a barista at Starbucks patiently waiting to start my career only to find an amazing spot with the Mystics!

This weekend, I have the opportunity to go home and spend some time with my family. I didn’t get to see my niece or nephew before I left so I’m really excited to spend some quality time with my family and friends. I was so rushed before I left I feel like I didn’t get to see anyone. My cousin got married 3 days before I moved which explains why I was so rushed.

Since starting with the Mystics it has been quite exciting for me. Within my first week I got the chance to attend the DC Chamber of Commerce Gala, I attended my first Caps game on my first day of work, and I also learned that DC traffic is really in a league of its own, and that the Metro is actually quite relaxing. I’m also eager to see the Wizards play this season and with a healthy roster none the less! I can’t wait to start exploring DC and all that it has to offer.

Well, as we come into our planning stages for the 2010 season, I can definitely say that you the fans are going to have an amazing season ahead of you. I hope you all are looking as forward to the 2010 season as I am. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you all later!

Go Mystics!
Kim

Thursday, October 29th - Greg Bibb checks in.

On Sunday, I ran in the 34th Marine Corps Marathon. It was my first marathon, so to say it was memorable would be an understatement. The day was exciting, fun, painful and rewarding all in one. Along the way, I kept a mile-by-mile mental journal of my thoughts and feelings. I thought I would share some of them with you here in this space today…

Start (Route 110/Arlington National Cemetery): Wow, this is what 22,000 runners in one place looks like; Montel Williams is the celebrity starter…I don’t get it? I have to pee.

Mile One: Ok, so I have already jumped into the woods to relieve myself. Hopefully, I don’t have to do that again, because I just wasted 30 seconds. It was nice to see my family on Lynn Street. Hopefully, I see them again along the way.

Mile Two: Over two miles into the race and still a solid wall of people roadside…it is amazing how many folks come out to cheer on the runners. Very inspirational.

Mile Three: Geez, I’m running way too fast of a pace…I’m going to hit a big wall somewhere down the road. I’ve got to slow down, but I can’t stand it when people pass me. By the way, the leaves are pretty this time of year.

Mile Four: Ah, the Key bridge. I have probably run across this bridge hundreds of times over the past few years…but never with thousands of people, hundreds of runners, a turn in the course and a water station all competing for space…it is crowded! I hope the mass of runners begins to separate soon.

Mile Five: How nice, the Georgetown band and cheerleaders are out on Canal Road to cheer on the runners. Hoya Saxa! Wow, there go the wheelchair competitors the other way…they have already finished the loop around the Georgetown Reservoir and are heading down M Street.

Mile Six: The view of the Potomac River is nice. I’m also enjoying the added space as the swarm of runners has begun to thin out. I feel great. Life is good.

Mile Seven: The view is still nice, but sightseeing is over…this is the biggest hill of the race and the first challenge of the day. The sun is also in everyone’s eyes, causing a bit of a traffic jam…can’t wait to get to the top.

Mile Eight: Some guy on the side of the road just yelled that we were all going too slowly and we need to pick up the pace….thanks buddy. You are welcome to join us.

Mile Nine: I love downhill running! Into Georgetown we go as we have now looped around the G-Town Reservoir and head back into downtown. Thanks again Hoya band. Hey, I just passed the 3:40 pace group…it looks good for beating my 4-hour goal.

Mile 10: So much for slowing down, pace is now sub 7-minutes. Maybe I can qualify for the Boston Marathon with a time of 3:15 or better. This may be the best day of running I have ever had…I hope the adrenaline lasts for the entire 26.2 miles.

Mile 11: Into Haynes Point. I don’t like Haynes Point. I can’t wait to get off of Haynes Point. If I find this Haynes guy, we are going to have a talk.

Mile 12: Ah pictures…smile pretty…still feeling ok…have to look like I’m feeling great for the picture. How do they sort through multiple pictures of 22,000 runners?

Mile 13: Almost halfway…for the race and Haynes point! I can’t believe how much Powerade I have consumed. Oh well, what’s another cup for the road. Pace is still strong.

Mile 14: What did I just feel….was that the arrival of fatigue? Perhaps if I ignore it, it will go away. Way too far to go to start feeling it already. On the bright side, I just passed the 3:30 pace group…Boston really is a nice city.

Mile 15: Finally! Off Haynes point and into an area by the tidal basin with lots of people cheering…this is a nice pick-me-up. I’m feeling good again. Runner’s high has returned.

Mile 16: Hey, there’s my wife…she’s awesome. Heading around the Lincoln Memorial and down Constitution Avenue…the prettiest part of a very picturesque race. Just over 10 miles to go…Boston is still a possibility…I have to pick up my pace if I’m going to make it though.

Mile 17: I think I’m moving down Constitution faster than I normally do driving in rush hour coming and going from work…if only the road could be closed to traffic everyday. By the way, there’s another photographer…smiling after this much running is getting old.

Mile 18: Wow, there is the Capitol. I could see it coming for miles. Wow, there is the wall I was hoping to avoid. I didn’t see it coming at all. A little over eight miles to go. Should be interesting down the stretch.

Mile 19: Down the south side of the national mall we go…seven miles to the finish. Still having fun, but I no longer feel like king of the world. People are starting to look worn out and are beginning to struggle. Gut check time.

Mile 20: Hello 14th Street Bridge, goodbye Boston. My legs have called it a day. This is the worst part of the race…long and lonely across the bridge into Crystal City. Where have all the people gone?

Mile 21: Still not to Crystal City…the bridge seems a lot shorter when you are in a car. I’m officially in pain. People are walking, falling and quitting. The mood has moved from festive to gloomy over the past two hours. Looking forward to seeing spectators again.

Mile 22: Ah, my wife…a great pick-me-up at the end of the tough stretch. Hello Crystal City, I’ve been looking for you. Let the party begin.

Mile 23: I was really looking forward to this part of the race, but now I just want to get to the finish. Forget the party. Get me the painkillers. A little over three miles to go. I will succeed.

Mile 24: There’s Adelyn with the grandparents…looks like she had fun at the Crystal City Festival. Good timing to see the little one. If anyone has an extra pair of legs, I’ll take them. Next up, the Pentagon parking lot.

Mile 25: One last high-five from Tara…just passed the Pentagon. The final stretch….have to stay in front of the 3:30 pace group…I really want to run a sub-3:30 race….I no longer care for Route 110…as a matter of fact, I can’t think of anything I like right now…my legs are toast…wait a minute, what’s that, ah, I hear the finish line music.

Mile 26: Just two-tenths of a mile to go…sure wish I could enjoy the crowd and the moment, but right now I just want to get to the finish line…no sign of the 3:30 pace group, so good to go there…who came up with the idea of putting a hill and a turn at the end of the race…quite cruel.

Finish (Iwo Jima Memorial): Thank goodness!!! Mission accomplished…3:26:37. My arms are numb, my legs are throbbing…my back is sore…what a great experience. Boston will have to wait, but there is always the National Marathon in March! What a great feeling of accomplishment. Life is good again.

Thanks to everyone who came out to support me on my run, especially my expecting wife who somehow managed to get all around the city to see me multiple times along the way…you were awesome. Congrats to all who ran the MCM…it was a great day. See you all for the 35th running next October.

By the way, if you got tired of reading this post halfway through, imagine how I felt actually running the race!

Quote of the Week

“Strive for everything, yet expect nothing.”

Five Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• Big win for the Pittsburgh Steelers over Minnesota on Sunday. The Champs will not go down without a fight.

• Yankees-Phillies World Series will be a good one. I’m rooting for the Phils.

• The NBA season is underway…it should be a fun one.

• Great article on Joe Paterno in Sports Illustrated last week…check it out.

• Happy Halloween!

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, October 28th - LaRhonda Lombardi introduces herself to Mystics fans.

Hello Mystics Fans,

My name is LaRhonda Lombardi and I am a proud new member of the Washington Mystics family. Closing in on my second week as Corporate Partnerships Coordinator, my time is split between our corporate partnerships and ticket operations departments. My interest in the Mystics grew last semester when I took Greg Bibb’s class on sales, sponsorship and licensing as a part of my graduate program in Sports Management at Georgetown University. I enjoyed learning about the mission of the Mystics organization and the empowerment of female athletes.

After graduating from the University of Maryland, I began coaching lacrosse at Maret School and found it to be an incredibly rewarding experience. I continued to coach and work as an Administrative/Operations Coordinator at Maret for four years. During that time, I also served as Assistant Program Director of Horizons at Maret, private-public partnership with D.C. Public Schools. Last spring, I put away my coaching whistle for the opportunity to join the Tiger Woods Foundation, where I assisted the ticketing and grassroots marketing efforts for the 2009 AT&T National Tournament. I worked with many wonderful people and wish them the best of luck as the tournament moves to Aronimink Golf Club in Philadelphia for the next two years. I will try to make the trip to Philly, and look forward to their return to Bethesda in 2012.

Though a Terp at heart, George Mason University basketball is a big part of my life these days. Over the past three years, I have developed a great deal of respect for those who pursue a career in college athletics. My husband, Scott, has just entered his third year as part of the coaching staff and I have grown to truly love the sport of basketball.

First Impressions

My first two weeks have been filled with many observations and as Mark Twain said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” I am pleased to report that I have been very impressed with everything that I have encountered. Here a some of my initial thoughts:

• I have joined an organization with incredibly loyal, animated and dedicated fans. Prior to joining the staff, I attended the Breast Health Awareness game, sponsored by Sibley Memorial Hospital. I was blown away by the energy of the fans and the sea of Mystics apparel. I knew that I would be proud to represent a brand with such a loyal following.

• I have joined an organization that values hard work. Upon being honored by the D.C. Chamber of Commerce as the 2009 Emerging Business of the Year, our COO immediately handed the award to his staff instead of keeping it at his own table….that spoke volumes about the Mystics leadership.

• I have joined an organization that genuinely cares about the fans. I spent my first few days reading over the many programs and initiatives that the Mystics have designed to deliver a great fan experience. I was impressed by the creativity, and that everyone is already working to develop new concepts for 2010. The fans have an exciting season ahead.

• I have joined an organization with a focus on social responsibility, striving to leverage the Mystics brand to benefit the community.

• I have joined an organization that encourages creativity amongst its staff. The Mystics organization was featured on the cover of the September-October issue of Infonomics magazine, highlighting the use of new media outlets to foster communication with fans.

• I have joined an organization where every staff member truly believes in the mission statement of the brand, with an appreciation of the athletes, fans and corporate partners that make it all possible.

• I have joined an organization that loves bobbleheads. On my first tour of the office, I thought “wow, there are a lot of bobbleheads in this office…I’ve never seen so many bobbleheads.” (Please refer to the picture on the right; and a special thanks to Sarah for sharing her collection with me… I only have one of my own, so far.)

I am excited to be a part of the Mystics family and look forward to the 2010 season.

Go Mystics,
LaRhonda

Tuesday, October 27th - Angela Taylor checks in.

Hey Mystics Fans,

Today marks my one-year anniversary with the Washington Mystics organization! Wow, how time really flies when you are having fun. I didn’t even realize today was the day until Sheila Robinson (she’s always on top of these things) sent me a text this morning. Thanks for the reminder Sheila!!

I have to say that the last 12 months have been filled with some wonderful memories and I feel blessed to have an opportunity to work with the best owners in the WNBA (Ted & Sheila), a brilliant sports executive who has taken this organization to new heights (Greg), a passionate staff on the business & basketball side, a great group of players, and the best fans in the WNBA. Thank you all for making my first year an enjoyable one!

Today also marks the start of the NBA season. While I don’t spend a lot of time watching NBA games (I prefer college women’s & men’s hoops), I am looking forward to seeing how the big name players who moved from place to place fit in with their new teams.

How will Vince Carter complement Dwight Howard? Will Shaq be able to keep up with LeBron or will they become a half-court team? Does Rasheed Wallace get called for as many technical fouls with the Celtics as he did with the Pistons? Do the Spurs continue to reload with players that fit their system with the addition of Richard Hamilton? And probably the question on everyone’s mind, how do Kobe & Ron Artest get along out in Hollywood?

I was really looking forward to seeing how Blake Griffin would impact the Clippers & maybe turn their luck around. Unfortunately, he is out for 6 weeks, so we’ll have to wait for his official NBA debut.

I’m also looking forward to the new & improved (healthy) Wizards team. Many of the guys were around this summer working out & you can tell that they are determined to make some noise in the Eastern Conference. Hopefully, Antawn gets healthy soon.

For an admitted reality show junkie, this NBA season makes for good TV! Speaking of reality TV, I just love The Amazing Race. Each episode keeps me on the edge of my seat.

In other sports news, I’m glad that my Cowboys are back on track (at least for now), and am looking forward to the World Series. I know, I can’t believe I said that either. I’m not really a big baseball fan, but there is something about the World Series (other than the fact that the end of the baseball season signifies the start of the college hoops season - thanks for pointing that out Natalia).

Join me in wishing Crystal Langhorne a Happy Birthday!!!

Until next time…

Go Mystics!
Angela

Monday, October 26th - Chris Waldmann talks family, scary movies and baseball in today’s blog.

Its your lucky Monday morning…

…because Chris Waldmann is blogging this morning! That’s right Mystics fans (and all those Chris Waldmann blog fans too) I’m filling in today with another exciting blog!

First I’d like to start off with a quick recap of my recent trip home to the great state of Connecticut. I went home over the Columbus Day weekend for the baptism of my nephew, Noah, who is now about 3 ½ months old. I don’t want to brag or anything (especially because I’m just the Uncle and had no part in this) but Noah is one of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen. You know how people might say “oh what a cute baby” when it’s really not a cute baby but you have to say he is because that’s what society expects you to say? Well I must say that Noah is a really cute baby, and you don’t even have to lie about it! Beyond that it was a great trip home; I got to see a lot of my family, and spend some real quality time with the kid, so I must say that I enjoyed it.

Secondly, I’m going to throw my two cents in on a recently released movie, Paranormal Activity. Now I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoy scary movies. I like getting scared, jumping out of my seat, and having my heart race for two hours…its fun! So when all the reviews came out and said that this movie is one of the scariest ever, and the trailers wouldn’t even show the film, just people’s reactions to watching the film and screaming, I knew I had to see it! Now I won’t ruin anything for those of you planning to see this movie, but it is not scary! I will say that my reaction may be due in part to the fact that I saw this in a sold out theater, on a Friday night, and about 80% of the crowd were high school kids. And not just any high school kids, but high school kids that found it necessary to continually laugh, shout obscenities, and basically ruin the theater going experience. So, if I had gotten to watch it at home, in a darkened room, without the distractions, it may have been scarier, but on the whole, the film was a huge disappoint to me.

Thirdly, and still speaking of disappointments, the World Series is set to kick off on Wednesday and lucky me I get to watch my least favorite team, the Yankees, take on my second least favorite team, the Phillies. To make matters worse, the Phillies have seemingly turned into the kind of team that my team, the Red Sox, used to be! They took our model, filled it basically the same way, and are doing it better than we have for the last two years! This is all very, very upsetting for me. This is now the second straight year where I’d just assume have nobody win the World Series than see either of these two teams do it. However, as a baseball fan, I will watch (not as intently though) and do my best to “root” for the Phillies. This is the one and only time I will root for a Philly team, I just don’t like to do it and I have my reasons, but I’ve always said I’m a fan of the Sox and whoever is playing the Yankees…so for 10 days…lets go Phils!

Well that’s about all there is for me. Don’t forget that we’re going to be featuring more in-depth coverage of our Mystics overseas, so keep an eye on the website for those updates and more. Also, for the couple of season ticket holders that have not renewed I’d recommend getting your renewals started by November first. We’ve got a lot of prizes to give away (and some really good ones too!) and the only way to win is to have your renewal going in November. Look for me again on my regularly scheduled date in December, and until then…

Go Mystics!

Friday, October 23rd - Natalia Isaac looks back on the WNBA finals and looks forward to the upcoming NBA and NCCA seasons.

Hey Mystics Fans,

It's been a while since I last blogged. Not too much is going on around the Mystics offices these days. Several of our players have headed overseas to play while some are still stateside getting in a little R&R. As a staff, this downtime before the start of the NCAA season is welcomed with open arms. You don't realize how hard you've worked until you get a moment to just relax. Your body doesn't lie!

You can only imagine how the players that compete year round feel. I think that is one of the things that makes our league so amazing. The best players in the world return to the WNBA every summer, sacrificing their bodies, to play in front of their families and great fans. Awesome!

Speaking of awesome, the WNBA finals were absolutely amazing! Certainly, I would have loved for our team to be there fighting for a championship. And one day we will be. This series had everything you could ask for in a championship series. It's a shame you could only have one winner. Congratulations to the Mercury on winning their second WNBA Championship! What more can you say about Taurasi, Pondexter and Taylor? It was really hard for me to root for the team that beat us not once, not twice, but 6 times this season. But you can't help but want Tamika Catchings to win a ring. If you weren't a fan of the WNBA, maybe this series changed your mind. I'm of the belief that if you're a fan of basketball, especially good basketball, it really doesn't matter who is playing. Basketball is Basketball.

Thankfully, the season ended late enough that there wasn't too much time between the start of the NBA and NCAA seasons. I'm looking forward to seeing how well the Wizards do this year. They made a few changes to the team which should help. Most importantly, Gilbert is back and healthy! Good luck to the Wiz this season! And before you know it, the Mystics will be back in uniform. :) Shout out to Lang, Matee, Riss, Mo, AB and B-Mo overseas! And a big "How you doin?!" to Linds, Nikki, Chas, Nakia and KMann!

Take care,
-Natalia

Thursday, October 22nd - Greg Bibb checks in.

I was sad to see the story of the Detroit Shock come to a close on Tuesday. What a story it was…three WNBA Championships, a bundle of victories and some of the best characters our game has had to offer. While the players will presumably move on to Tulsa, many of the coaches and staff will not. Moreover, devoted and loyal fans of the team, many who have been a part of the squad’s following since inception in 1998, suddenly find themselves without a home town side to root for moving forward.

I feel bad for those folks. I feel bad for the employees who have devoted the countless hours to make the franchise move forward. I feel bad for the players who will no longer call Detroit their second home. Most of all, however, I feel bad for Detroit. Having lived there for two years I understand the challenging economic climate the area is facing. Nowhere has the ill economy suffered more than Detroit. As the domestic auto industry fell apart, Detroit fell to its knees. I can’t say I blame Palace Sports & Entertainment for this decision. I think they operate a sports organization as well as anyone. I commend them for 12 years of commitment to excellence and for capturing the League trophy three times. I still feel bad though.

On the other side of the emotional spectrum resides Tulsa, Ok. I’m excited for what lies ahead in Tulsa. I think Oklahoma is a great women’s basketball state. I think Tulsa is a city on the move forward. I have been impressed by what I have read about the new ownership group. I have great hope for Tulsa’s WNBA entity to thrive for years to come.

I think it is important to keep things in perspective here. No one likes to see a franchise go away. You can’t sugar coat it…it isn’t a great thing. Reality reminds us, however, that the WNBA is entering year 14 in 2010. In terms of professional sports league life cycles it remains a baby. If one were to go back into the annals of history and look at the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB, one would see that change was a common thread among all of these leagues during the early stages of their existence. This time has been coined the formative years for a reason.

So while I’m sad for the Detroit Shock and all those involved, I’m not ready to jump on the dooms day bandwagon that will inevitably arrive with this news. The WNBA is not going to fold. The WNBA is not in peril. If you don’t believe me, check with the folks in Bristol, CT who run that little operation known as ESPN. They are committed for the long haul. As is David Stern. As are a record number of fans who attended WNBA games this summer, tuned into WNBA broadcasts and visited WNBA-related websites.

You can’t have the best news all of the time. Today is a sad day. I feel bad. But tomorrow is a new day. There is a WNBA presence in Tulsa along with 12 other markets. Sometimes progress can’t be traced through straight lines. Once in a while a step back is necessary to take two steps forward.

Thank you Detroit Shock and your fans. You’ll be missed. Hello Tulsa, I can’t wait to meet you.

Quote of the Week

“It is always about the lesson, never about the person delivering the lesson.”

Five Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• Another week, another Denver Broncos victory. I don’t understand.
• I found the live coverage of the “Balloon Boy” event as strange as the event itself. Breaking news that delivers live coverage always seems to bring out the weird in everybody.
• Alex Ovechkin is on pace for 92 goals and 164 points this year…not a bad effort!
• Thank you to the DC Chamber of Commerce for honoring the Mystics as the 2009 Emerging Business of the Year…we had a great time at the Gala on Saturday night….congrats to the Washington Capitals for being named the Chamber’s 2009 winner of the Economic Impact Award.
• Marine Corps Marathon in three days. Training is all but done. Hopefully I will live to report on the experience next week!

Until next time,
Go Mystics!

Wednesday, October 21st - Dave Deal introduces himself to the Mystics faithful.

Hello Mystics Fans! I am a recent addition to the front office staff and as such this is my first-ever submission to the Mystics Pass the Ball Blog! I am very excited about joining such a fantastic organization, top to bottom, as the Mystics. It’s not often that you get an opportunity to come on board with any organization after such a great year on and off the court. I realized as much and simply couldn’t pass it up. I only wish I could have been here a bit earlier as the team qualified for postseason play while leading the entire WNBA in attendance.

I’d also like to congratulate the organization – ownership, coaches, players, staff, and fans – on being named the DC Chamber of Commerce Emerging Business of the Year. My wife and I were fortunate enough to attend the awards dinner for which we were very grateful. It was a fantastic evening, highlighted by the team’s award, but it also gave us the opportunity to mingle with the other staff members on a more personal basis outside of the office.

I am the newly appointed Senior Director of Business Development and will be primarily focused on starting a Camps & Clinics program. Prior to joining the Mystics, I spent the previous seven seasons with the Philadelphia KiXX of the National Indoor Soccer League (NISL). My responsibilities with Philadelphia varied over the years, but most recently I served as Vice President, Internal Operations with daily duties including the management and oversight of the team’s finances, working with the head coach on player acquisition and contract negotiation, and management of the team’s communication efforts. I was also the Director of the KiXX Summer Kamp program, which attracted nearly 3,000 campers at over 45 locations throughout the Tri-State area for three consecutive years.

My goal is to incorporate some of the elements and experiences learned through the indoor soccer camp program into a model for youth basketball camps beginning in 2010. We have lots of work ahead of us and some stiff competition in the area, but with first-class athletes and office personnel, I know we will be ready and able to produce a successful season of summer camps! Stay tuned for more details as we begin to roll out the program’s details.

If the KiXX sounded familiar, you probably recall that Mystics COO Greg Bibb was employed as the team’s Executive VP/GM back in 2003-05. I worked with Greg then and I am very excited about doing so again with the Mystics in the years to come.

On a personal note, I am proud to announce that my beautiful wife, Jen, of two years, and I are expecting our first child in early February!!!! Jen is in her 24th week of pregnancy and we just had our monthly check-up on Monday, and I’m pleased to report that everything looks great … the baby actually gained a full pound over the last month (sounded like a lot, but we were assured it is completely average). Regarding the baby’s gender … it’s a GIRL!! Here comes the pink everything and further ensures that I will be outnumbered in the household … Jen, little one on her way, and two-year-old female lab, Bailey.

We are very excited and can’t wait to welcome a new addition to our family. I have a sneaky suspicion that February will be here before we know it, ready or not. As such, we’ll keep plugging away, anxiously awaiting our little one!

Go Mystics!
Dave

Tuesday, October 20th - Coach Plank looks ahead to 2010.

Hello Mystic Fans!

The last month (can you believe it has been that long already?), since our last play-off game, Angela and I have spent a lot of time evaluating the 2009 season. While there were many areas that the Mystics improved in statistically, we are always looking at ways to get better. Our team was in the Top 5 in the league in 12 statistical categories, 3 offensive and 9 defensive. This was an accomplishment, while 45% of the players on the final roster were added in 2009. I do know that our staff & team established our blue collar, defensive-minded, fast-break style this past summer. That “championship culture”, which we established at the beginning of training camp, is what we will build upon for 2010.

Here is what is in store for us the next couple of months, as we try to improve our roster for 2010. There are a few ways that your team can get better. One way is through the college draft. This past weekend, the college teams hit the hardwood for official practice, as the non-conference season starts in mid-November. While we will see as many practices and games as possible, in person, much of our time is spent evaluating televised games & DVDs of prospects. The DC/MD/VA area is a nice place to see a lot of teams from numerous conferences…& season ticket holders too! :)

Another way to improve our team will be through free agency. These signings are not immediate, but you can be certain that we already have an eye on a couple that could impact our team in 2010 & beyond. With the success this past summer, combined with the great support from the organization, and the #1 fans in the WNBA, we hope to attract some quality players/people to DC! I do know our team is “special”…young, talented, competitive, unselfish, & full of “winners”. While I know it is always fun to win, it is even more fun to do it with people you truly enjoy. Our 2009 team was a great group!!! :)

The final way to improve your roster is through trades. This usually happens later in the off-season, after the lottery has taken place & free agency has settled in. In the meantime, most of our players are improving their own individual skills, by playing overseas. It is never-ending for them, as the year-round play is what it takes to stay competitive at this level. Look at what one year overseas did for Crystal Langhorne! We hope to have another ‘Most Improved Player’ from the Washington Mystics next summer. Stay tuned, as we will continue to update you on our players’ progress…

I am really looking forward to visiting my family this week in Columbus, Ohio. I have not been back home since Christmas! I LOVE being there…staying with my Mom and spending time with brothers & sisters, along with nieces & nephews. I get up every morning @ 7am to drive the kids two blocks to school. Usually, I will be wearing one of my Halloween masks when I pick them up! The days are spent spoiling my Mom, while most nights we visit “our family bar”, Plank’s Café. It is always special to see my brothers taking care of the many regular customers, who have frequented the place for decades. It is a great place to watch Ohio State games, baseball play-offs, or NHL & NBA games. And if they get really busy, I may even get behind the bar & work a couple of hours…whatever I can do to help!

Then back to DC, to check out some Capitals & Wizards games. I’m looking forward to supporting both of these hometown teams! As I have said often times before “You Win With People”, and there are many outstanding people in our organization. With one month gone by, we are less than six months away till the start of training camp! Oh…the off-season is waaaayyy too long!

Talk to you soon…
Coach Plank

Monday, October 19th - Ketsia Colimon checks in.

Hey Mystics fans,

Hope everyone is doing well. As you know, the WNBA season is over and our organization is already working on ways we can improve on this year and make the 2010 season an even better one. On a personal note, I celebrated a birthday this past weekend and although I am not one who cares about telling people my age (33), I can’t get over the fact that I am this old. I mean, I feel like I was 14 yesterday. Where did the time go?

A benefit of aging has been a greater understanding of life. I mean my joints cracking have to mean that I get to have some sort of bonus in this thing. Still, as I have gotten older, I have come to appreciate more and more the people in my life. When I first moved to DC, I didn’t know anyone and had a long lost cousin that I have come to love like a mother. In the last seven years, I have assembled a group of friends that I now consider family and I consider myself lucky to have them in my life. I live in what I think is one of the best cities in America and have a support system that anyone would be envious of. What more could a girl want?

Sam Update

I am just going to show a picture. Not saying a thing!

Go Mystics,
Ketsia

Friday, October 16th - Maria Giovannetti's mother is on Facebook...or is she?

Hey Mystics Fans,

I hope you all are doing well and staying healthy. On a random note to start, I was amazed this past weekend to find Christmas decorations on sale at my neighborhood grocery store. As much as I love Christmas, can I please get over grieving the end of summer and find my winter jacket before Christmas decorations are put out? Time flies when you have the best fans in sports and you’re clinching playoff spots at the 11th hour!

Despite the title of this blog, my mother is, in fact, NOT on Facebook. However, it certainly is not for lack of trying. I have a large family of six and the "baby" of our family is sixteen years old. She is a great kid and hardly ever gets into any trouble. However, like any good mother, at a time when my sister just earned her driver’s license and isn’t as home as much as she once was, my mom wants to make sure her little baby is still on the right track and is staying in line.

My mom, who is technologically challenged to say the least, thought she had it all figured out. What better way to keep an eye on her "little baby" than to use a fictitious name and befriend her on Facebook?! I can see my mom now…glasses on, pecking away at the keyboard one letter at a time, smirking to herself as she signs up for Facebook under the name “Grace Willbe.” Finally, with one final click "Grace Willbe" sent a friend request to my sister. Leave it up to good ole’ Catholic mom to create a name like that.

What my mom did not know was that when she (a.k.a. "Grace Willbe") sent a friend request to my sister, her real e-mail address could be found. My sister, after receiving a friend request from a strange "Grace Willbe," investigated further and quickly discovered my mother’s e-mail address in "Grace’s" profile. She knew right away she had foiled the plot and outsmarted dear old mom yet again.

While "Grace Willbe" had a very short Facebook life, the story of Grace Willbe and the laughs we continue to share will live on forever! I hope that "Grace Will Be" with you and your loved ones this season and always.

On the Mystics front, we have been busy closing the books on 2009 and planning ahead for the 2010 season. We want to hear from you during the off season, so please give us a call or send us an e-mail! If you don’t have a designated Mystics representative please call 1-800-DC-HOOP1 or e-mail tickets@washmystics.com.

Make sure to check the website in the next few weeks as we’ll be updating information about our fan experience packages when you bring a group to a Mystics game in 2010. Learn what it takes to sit on the bench during pre-game warm ups, serve as honorary team captain for the game, get tickets for your entire group to attend a post-game autograph session, play basketball on the Verizon Center court and more!

Thursday, October 15th - Greg Bibb checks in.

Congratulations to the Phoenix Mercury on winning the 2009 WNBA Championship. Phoenix finished the regular season with the best record in the League, boasted the MVP in Diana Taurasi, and ultimately took care of business to win the organization’s second trophy.

While the Mercury ended up with the hardware, hearty congrats are in order for the Indiana Fever as well. The Fever pushed Phoenix to the limit, losing in five games after a tremendously hard-fought series. Indiana has done a great job of building a core group of players who look ready to contend for the WNBA title for years to come.

In addition to celebrating terrific basketball, I think everyone involved with the final series should celebrate the business success of the five-game set. The Mercury and Fever played to sell-out crowds throughout the finals, capping a tremendous post-season for the WNBA at the gate. The League welcomed 209,555 fans to the 2009 WNBA Playoffs, for an average of 9,979 fans per game. This number represents over an 18% gain from 2008 when the average post-season crowd was 8,420.

Along with bigger crowds in the arena, television ratings also improved. Viewership of WNBA Playoffs games during 13 ESPN2 broadcasts earned an average of 435,000 viewers. This was a 54% bump over 2008 when 282,000 viewers tuned into the action. Moreover, the 2009 WNBA Finals was the most-watched WNBA series since the championship round moved exclusively to cable in 2006. The five-game series averaged 548,000 viewers, up 73% from the 316,000 viewers who tuned in to watch Detroit win the title a year ago.

Most importantly, in my opinion anyway, was the growth among male viewers. During the 2009 playoffs, the League experienced a 49% increase in males 18-49 who tuned in to watch the ESPN2 broadcasts. This is a huge jump in viewership within the demographic that is traditionally the most challenging for our League to engage.

All of these numbers represent positive signs for a League now preparing for year 14. Looking at the caliber of play, the talent currently developing at the collegiate level, the long-term partnership with ESPN and the growth at the turnstile during extremely challenging economic times, I wonder why people continue to question the long-term viability of our product.

We have our challenges to be sure. But then again, find me a sports league or organization that doesn’t. I truly believe we are gaining traction among the masses and the 2010 season will be the League’s best yet.

Closer to home here in Washington, we will spend the off-season continuing to grow our relationships with our season ticket holders and core fan base. We will work hard to renew a higher percentage of our season ticket holders while continuing to look for ways to enhance the overall entertainment experience we provide to our customers.

On the basketball side, we will strive to add pieces to our puzzle that will allow us to win more games in 2010 while advancing deeper in the post-season. We approach these tasks now with a strong plan and a clear path to where we want to go.

Past progress is important. We have now achieved a bit of this. Future gains are paramount and we will make these advances a part of our everyday fabric between now and tip-off to the 2010 season.

Once again thanks for being a fan and having an interest in the Washington Mystics. Together, we will accomplish great things. This I’m sure.

Quote of the Week

“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.”

Five Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• Welcome to Chuck Kacsur, the Mystics new graphic designer.
• LA Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies and NY Yankees vs. Los Angeles Angels should be two great MLB post-season match-ups. I see a Dodgers-Yanks World Series in our future.
• We are entering week six of the NFL season and I’m still waiting for the Denver Broncos to lose…I can’t believe they are undefeated.
• College Hoops Midnight Madness is just around the corner…exciting!
• Marine Corps Marathon in nine days. Training is coming to a close. I hope it was all worth it.

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, October 14th - Crystal Hudson recaps her long weekend.

I hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend! While most might use the extra day off from work to take a quick weekend getaway, I used the long weekend to catch up on some much needed rest & relaxation. Here are just a few highlights from my weekend:

1. Watching President Obama speak at the HRC National Dinner on Saturday night. (Although being on the National Mall during his inauguration was an historic and meaningful occasion, my view was infinitely better at the Dinner!!) And second only to the President, was the post-season wrap-up I had with Mystics season ticket holder and MVP member, Tammy Seltzer.

2. I visited Charlottesville, VA for the first time on Sunday; and what a beautiful, quaint city it is. I walked around for a bit, and got a glimpse of UVA’s campus and historic downtown before sitting down at a local restaurant for dinner. I’ll have to take another day trip down there and see a few more sights!

3. On Monday evening, I enjoyed dinner with a good friend of mine from college at a new restaurant in the U Street area called Masa 14. It’s the latest venture from the owners of Zengo and Kaz Sushi Bistro, so if you’re fan of Latin/Asian fusion cuisine, you’ll be a fan of Masa 14!

I hope to have more recaps of local getaways and daycations the next time I’m up for Pass the Ball! Until next time…

Crystal

Tuesday, October 13th - Angela Taylor looks back at the Fever-Mercury series.

Hey Mystics Fans,

Let me start off by congratulating the Phoenix Mercury organization (Annie Meyers, Jay Parry, Mr. Sarver, Rick Welts, Corey, and the players) for winning their second WNBA Championship. Not only was it great that the series went five games, but I thought it was really special for the Mercury organization to be able to celebrate on their home floor in front of an arena packed with the X-Factor (their loyal fans).

At the beginning of the series, I have to admit that I was somewhat of a spoiled sport because I felt that we should still be playing at that point in the season. But after sitting on the edge of my seat for the last few minutes of Game #1 (the highest scoring game in WNBA history), I took off my Mystics hat & simply became a huge fan of women’s basketball throughout the remainder of the series. In fact, I found myself racing home to catch the start of the game (at least the games in the east. I had to fight off sleep for those late night 9pm ET starts).

In the end, not only did Diana Taurasi show why she is this year’s league MVP, but we were also treated to some dazzling displays from a number of players on each roster. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the all-around hustle & play of Tamika Catchings. She was simply unbelievable for the entire series and exhibited why fans around the world love watching her play. She is a great model for all of us because she illustrates what it is like to give 110% at everything you do.

As many around the league have stated, this series is further validation of the entertainment value of the WNBA. We have the best players in the world playing at a high level every night in arenas around the country. I hope that the casual observer who may not have believed in the extraordinary talent level & competitive fire that exists in this league took note & jumps on board in the near future. Kudos to the Mercury, the Fever, and the WNBA for taking our league to another level. I am very proud to be part of this league and am looking forward to a very exciting future.

How great would it be to make those packed arenas a regular occurrence in the WNBA? Mystics faithful, I think we should lead the way!!!

Well, with some core pieces of our national team (Cappie, Diana, and Tamika) shooting the lights out in the finals, a young group of WNBA stars headed over to Russia to represent USA Basketball by winning the tournament in Ekaterinburg. All I can say is that USAB is in good hands for years to come considering the players who were missing. I think in the end this will be a great experience for Lindsey & Lang as they both hope to fulfill their childhood dreams of donning a USA jersey in the Olympics one day. It was also nice that they were able to spend some time with our 2nd round pick Jelena Milovanovic who had a good performance with her team Sopron.

Back on the homefront, the month of October seems to be flying by as I try to enjoy the fall weather in the DC area. I am looking forward to the start of college practices at the end of the week and can’t wait to catch some Caps & Wizards games here at Verizon Center.

From time to time, it is always good to reminisce so I was reminded of a life-changing moment I experienced on October 17, 1989 at 5:04pm when I caught an episode of Outside the Lines on Sunday morning. Where were you on that day? Well, I had just returned to my freshman dorm after a long (and undoubtedly intense) Tara VanDerveer practice at Maples Pavilion. As I sat at my desk (I would love to say I was doing homework, but I’m sure I was probably doing something less productive), I heard some loud banging that sounded like it was coming from upstairs.

I thought it was probably a group of guys playing hoops on the floor above mine. That seemed like a logical explanation for the noise, but now all of a sudden I was swaying back & forth too. At that point, I look out my door into the hallway to see the floor curling up & down like an ocean wave…ummm, what could this be.

Now, I should preface this story by saying I am from Idaho where we really don’t have too many natural disasters. Outside of the cold weather, the ash from Mount St. Helen’s was pretty much all that we can claim.

Anyway back to this story…the rumbling & movement seemed to be going on for forever before I finally figured out it was an EARTHQUAKE…yikes. “What do I do…” is all I could think about. Do I jump in the bathtub? Do I hide under the desk? Do I run out into the hallway? I had no clue what to do. So what I decided to do was continue sitting at my desk holding on to my stereo & television so that they didn’t crash to the floor like all of my books were doing. Note: If you are ever in an earthquake, this is not the proper protocol.

Long story short, I spent the next few days sleeping on the lawn, in dorm lounges, and in random places. As I gathered with friends & teammates over the next few days, the stories we shared were pretty crazy. My brother (who was on the Stanford football team) was actually in the best possible place, in the middle of the football field practicing. He was a little nervous that I was still in Maples practicing because they saw the arena swaying & heard the speakers crash. While there was extensive damage to the arena, Coach VanDerveer (and Coach Plank for that matter) didn’t skip a beat as they found a nice empty parking lot for us to practice on the next day! I guess when we all look back at our championship season, we can truly say that the season started with a bang! : )

Needless to say, I will be sure to reminisce with my teammates this weekend on the official anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake.

Well, I hope that you are enjoying a wonderful fall in the DC area. Looking forward to seeing you at some Maryland, George Washington, Georgetown, and American hoops games this fall.

Go Mystics,
Angela

Monday, October 12th - President's Day Holiday.

Friday, October 9th - Nicole Boden talks about her home improvements.

Hi Mystics fans! It looks like it’s my turn again on the Pass the Ball Blog.

So back in June I bought my first home and honestly even now in October it looks like I just moved in yesterday. So now that the season is over, I have been spending my spare time at Home Depot, Crate and Barrel and Pottery barn. Since I’m not much of a decorator, my best friend volunteered to fly all the way from Minneapolis to help me paint and decorate my place. We spent the entire weekend she was here painting my bathroom and my bedroom.

For my bedroom I went with a nice purple. Purple is my favorite color and after searching a number of different stores, we found a great duvet cover to go with it. Next was the bathroom which we went with gray that goes well with the purple in my bedroom. I personalized the bathroom with a collage of pictures of my family. I also had my heart set on having a painting/picture from a local artist. So after searching everywhere we went to Eastern Market and I found a great picture from a local artist that goes very well in my bathroom.

My friend had to go back to Minnesota and left me to decorate my living room and kitchen all by myself. The first thing I needed to do was to get a couch. So this past Saturday, I finally bought a couch that I absolutely love. I wanted to get a big comfy couch and it had to be a sectional and I found that this weekend and it should be delivered in the next couple of weeks. I just need to work on the kitchen which I have visions of putting up tile as a back splash. I’ve been watching a lot of HGTV and if they can do it then I know I can do it.

Well wish me luck and hopefully soon I’ll have some pictures of all my hard work in my new condo.

Have a great day Mystics fans and don’t forget to renew your season tickets. I look forward to seeing all of you in 2010!

Nicole Boden

Thursday, October 8th - Greg Bibb checks in.

It has been a busy week for me here at Mystics headquarters. We are in the middle of staff reviews, we are closing the books on our 2009 budget and we are beginning the process of building the 2010 business plan. We also have welcomed several new staff members as our team continues to grow in both number and strength.

Dave Deal joins the Mystics as the Senior Director of Business Development. Dave’s charge is to help us develop a camp and clinic business. This will allow us to extend our brand, strengthen our relationship with the community and develop an additional revenue stream. Dave’s path to the Mystics is similar to my own as he was a long-time indoor soccer marketer. He has a great resume particular to the camp and clinic business, including spearheading the growth of a Philadelphia-based camp business that welcomed nearly 3,000 children to an 11-week summer program.

LaRhonda Lombardi comes to the Mystics from the Tiger Woods Foundation. LaRhonda will be working with our corporate partnerships and ticket operations departments. LaRhonda is a very smart and hard-working young professional who I know will be a great asset to our organization. LaRhonda will also be graduating from the Georgetown sports management graduate program this January where she has survived my class on ticket sales, sponsorship and licensing. LaRhonda was a star pupil who I know will be a star member of the Mystics family.

Kim Peters will join the Mystics front office next week as well. Kim, a Pittsburgh native, will be re-locating to the nation’s capital to join our squad. Kim will be an account executive, focused on both season ticket and group ticket sales. Kim has spent time working for the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, which is a big plus in her boss’ eyes! We are excited to have Kim join our team.

In addition to Dave, LaRhonda and Kim, we will also be welcoming a new graphic designer and a director of corporate partnerships sometime in the next few weeks. I will be sure to mention their names when they are officially on board.

One other personnel-related piece of news…congratulations to Maria Giovannetti who has been promoted from Senior Account Executive to Group Sales Manager. Maria is a four-year veteran of the Mystics staff who finished the 2009 season as the #2 ranked sales professional in the entire WNBA! I’m looking forward to Maria leading our group sales team in 2010.

Speaking of good results…I must give a shout out to Adelyn Bibb, my daughter. Addy has had a great week potty training. With a big assist from Mom, Addy is 29-2 on the week. For those of you non-parents out there who aren’t following the lingo that means 29 successful trips to the potty and only two accidents. In short, the little one has been successful over 93% of the time. Way to go Addy!

Quote of the Week

“Don’t let the storm take the wind out of your sails.”

Five Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• Congratulations to Mystics Account Executive Nicole Jones on her recent engagement!
• Mystics GM Angela Taylor and Head Coach Julie Plank have me excited for the upcoming collegiate women’s b-ball season…plenty of great players to follow leading up to the 2010 WNBA Draft.
• What is more surprising, the Broncos at 4-0 or the Titans at 0-4?
• Word out of USA Basketball Training Camp is that Tina Charles and Maya Moore are the real deal. Look for these two ladies to be at the top of the next two WNBA Draft boards.
• A little more than two weeks of training left until the Marine Corps Marathon…time is running out (pardon the pun).

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, October 7th - Chris Waldmann previews the most exciting time in sports.

Hello again Mystics fans, and anyone else who may just be a fan of my great blogging skills (I’m sure there’s plenty of you out there!). Today is the start of what I believe is the best 5 or 6 weeks of sports all year long. Are you ready, because here’s what’s happening (ranked in my own personal order of importance):

1. The baseball playoffs start today! While it may no longer be "America’s Pastime" baseball will always be my favorite sport and although 3 out of the 4 divisional series start today, I’m much more interested in how my Red Sox fare tomorrow evening. Go Sox!
2. The NFL is in full swing! That’s right those first couple of weeks are fun, but now we’re really starting to see who’s for real and who’s not. Unfortunately the O-Line of the Green Bay Packers is anything but for real and if my guys can’t figure it out over the bye week, it’s going to be a really long and really painful season for Aaron Rodgers. On a bright note, we didn’t lose to Detroit!
3. The cupcake part of college football is over! Now we get some real match-ups that are worth watching. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some good games so far. But I don’t want to watch Florida roll up 70 points on the College of Charleston. I want to see them go into Death Valley to face an undefeated LSU team and see how real they are! Some teams will make the cut, others will be revealed as pretenders; now if they could only fix the BCS…
4. Hockey is back! Ovi’s on pace for about 250 points! Can he keep it up, almost surely not, but it’s going to be a fun season here in DC…Go Caps!
5. The NBA is right around the corner. I won’t bore you with any preseason predictions other than this: Back-to-Back!
6. College Basketball is right around the corner.
7. NASCAR is almost over and its long 2 month off-season will begin!

Alright that last one was a joke, but this is the best time of year for me as a sports fan. (Anyone notice I didn’t lead with the WNBA Finals?) Just making sure you’re paying attention! How great have those games been? Just think how much fun they’ll be next year when we’re watching them in person at the Verizon Center!

Well, that about does it for me. I’ll be heading up to Connecticut for a long weekend with the family. My nephew is getting baptized, so we’ll have the whole gang around for a few days which I’m looking forward to. Everyone enjoy your sports!

Go Mystics…and Red Sox!
Chris

Tuesday, October 6th - Coach Plank looks back on the 2009 Mystics season.

Hello to the absolute best fans in the WNBA!!!

All I can say is…What an incredible 1st season for me, personally, as a Head Coach! And, there are many reasons for this 2009 season being so special, which I would love to share with you…

• The amazing support our team receives from our awesome owners, Sheila Johnson & Ted Leonsis. They are wonderful to work for, and very passionate about their Mystics team! The two of them would do anything to help us be successful, and make it especially fun for me to come to work each and every day! They truly care about US!!!
• Our business staff, led by Greg Bibb, are incredible people and go above and beyond to help our team in many ways. Obviously, bringing fans to the Verizon Center is their priority, but many of them will do the “little things” that make a difference for us on the basketball side. Their energy is contagious and they are a pleasure to work alongside of every day! Ketsia and Sheila…you’re the best! Congrats to Greg & his staff for raising over $39,000 for the Sullivan Center.
• Angela Taylor…what’s not to say…Her tireless efforts, her personality & professionalism, the passion she displays for our players & staff, and most of all, her willingness to help me in whatever way she can, is definitely why our team has made the strides it has, in such a short amount of time! She is a difference-maker!
• My coaching staff (Trudi, Vicky, & Luby) was unbelievable! They did a super job of communicating with our players, developed them both on and off the floor, and challenged all of them to be better. There was not one day all summer where they were not full of energy, passionate, and willing to do whatever I needed done. I am grateful to all three of them!
• The support staff (Navin, trainer & Lisa, strength coach) are two of the very best in the business. Our players get incredible care, were on the floor as much as possible, and in great shape, as a result of the efforts of Navin & Lisa. They had a huge impact on our turn-around in 2009!
• The “Squad” (Natalia, Joey, Drew, Mikhail, Thuc, Cassandra, & Karess) put in so many hours doing all the little things that never go unnoticed! Not only are they all great at what they do, but they are fun people to be around. That is very important to me, and I appreciate their energy!
• Our incredible team!!! This was definitely a fun bunch to coach! They did everything asked of them and more. These 11 women worked hard from Day 1 of training camp, competed in all 36 games this season, showed a great toughness down the stretch, and were truly committed to getting the Mystics to the 2009 playoffs!!! Our players were hard-working, very unselfish, extremely professional, and got along great with one another! We are truly building something special in DC!!!
• The absolute best fans in the WNBA! It was awesome for our staff & team to walk out on that floor, and see the amazing number of fans, cheering their hearts out. I hope you KNOW what a difference you make for our team. Many of our home wins, in particular, were because of you! I have never experienced the consistent support in my entire professional career. Thank you all for an inspiring first year!!!

While many of our 2009 games were exciting, here are a few that stand out in my mind…

• Our very first win of the season, @ CT 82-70…Marissa Coleman made her rookie debut, nailing three 3-pt shots in a row vs the CT zone! Riss led the way, with a 16-pt game, nailing all 4 of her 3 pt attempts!
• The home opener vs Atlanta…in front of an awesome crowd…Matee Ajavon had some spectacular plays, while showing our up-tempo style. Alana began her MVP-type season with 26 pts, in a great team win!
• Our ESPN 2 game vs Chicago…first time on National Television, and we turn a 10 pt halftime time deficit, into a 9 pt WIN!!! The turn-around was led by an awesome 31 pt performance by Alana Beard. The best part was sharing the win with one of my all-time favorite players, Jennifer Azzi (Stanford grad). And yes, I did get emotional…
• The July day game vs San Antonio…hearing and seeing the 17,000+ screaming fans (many of them kids) was fascinating!
• The double OT win @ home vs Connecticut. After our worse loss of the season to CT five days earlier, our team won the tie-breaker game 91- 89.
• Our HUGE win @ Phoenix 91- 81…we were one of the very few teams to beat this WNBA Finals team on their home court!
• The September 6th game @ Indiana…seeing 40 of my family and friends, who all drove over from Columbus, Ohio (my hometown) to cheer for our Mystics’ team. My brother John had the trip planned the entire summer! The amazing thing was that they all spent the night!
• Playoff game #1 @ the Comcast Center…how fun to practice on the Maryland court, home of Coleman, Langhorne, and Vicky Bullett. There was no doubt that Marissa & Crystal were extremely comfortable playing on that floor, as they led our team with 16 & 18 pts respectively.
• Playoff game #2 @ Indiana…checking into our team hotel, greeted by many of my former neighbors, friends, and family. There were about 25 of them who showed up to congratulate & support our Mystics team! It was very thoughtful of them, as they cheered, held banners, and carried balloons around the lobby upon our arrival!

The season ended with a few of our players being recognized for WNBA awards. Congrats to Crystal Langhorne for being named Most Improved Player in the league. Lang is a coach’s dream and I am so proud of her! Her hard work last off-season paid off immensely for both Lang and our team. She already told our staff she was coming back from Spain with a 3 pt shot! Crystal finished the year with 11 double-doubles, 3rd best in the WNBA. She also was 2nd in FG% shooting 57%, and 3rd in rebounding, grabbing 7.9 boards a game. While her minutes doubled this year, so did her production!

Marissa Coleman was named to the All-Rookie team, after a stellar first season with the Mystics. After hobbling much of the season with an ankle injury, Marissa’s play down the stretch was big for us making the play-offs. She started and ended the season with her season high of 16 pts. I really think her best days are ahead of her!

So very proud of Alana Beard as well, for being named to the All-Defensive Team this past summer. AB also represented our team in the All-star game. She does so many things for our team, and is a “winner”. I would have loved to have had a 100% Alana during our play-off games vs Indiana!

*** A few other things to note about our players…

I was a little surprised that Lindsey was not recognized on that all-defensive team, or as an All-Star, as we all know what she brought to our Mystics team. Her incredible 25 pt performance during our last home game vs Atlanta was huge. She was very determined to lead our team to the playoffs in 2009!

Monique Currie finished the season with 11 out of 19 double figure scoring games. Monique also brought down 14 rebounds in our last playoff game @ Indiana, along with 4 steals.

Matee Ajavon improved in her second year in the WNBA, and was huge for our team, starting four games in Alana’s absence. Her 32 pt game @ Chicago, late in the year, was fun to watch!

How ironic that our post tandem of Nakia Sanford & Chasity Melvin were instrumental in the Mystics return to the playoffs for the first time since 2006?

As I am well aware, it takes everyone to be successful…The hard work of our bench players Kristen Mann, Nikki Blue, & Bernice Mosby made our entire team better.

Congratulations to Lindsey, Crystal, and Alana for being invited to try-out for the USA National Team training this week, in DC. After watching a few days of practice, Angela and I are very excited that they will be in a Mystics uniform for many years to come! They performed very well amongst the very best players in the WNBA. We are so proud of these 3! AB…get 100%

Now is the time to rest up & relax a bit…which is hard for me to do! I loved watching the USA team practices this past week, led by Geno Auriemma. I will also take in the two games of the WNBA Finals, in Indiana. While Game 3 was another exciting one, I must admit, I was quite sad having to stand in the Will Call line waiting to get my tickets. I could picture our Mystics team on the sidelines, ready to tip-off in the Final series!!! That time is coming…

NOW is the time to evaluate the 2009 season, and begin to prepare for our 2010 summer. The evaluation process is on-going, as we are constantly looking for ways to get better. Although we were happy to make the playoffs, I can assure you, we are still in pursuit of that ultimate prize…a WNBA Championship in DC!!!

Thanks again to the so many people who have made my first year in DC a great one! I look forward to seeing you this off-season, whether it is at a Mystics event, or scouting college prospects in the DC/Maryland/VA area. I truly admire your passion & support!

Coach Plank

Monday, October 5th - Tim Gallant gets ready for an exciting trip.

Good Day Mystics Fans,

I hope you have all enjoyed watching the finals for the WNBA. It certainly has been exciting, and I am sure Phoenix will not go down without a fight.

As you may or may not know, fall is my absolute favorite time of year for a multitude of reasons ranging from the weather to the heart of the college football season taking place. There is just an abundance of activities to partake in and I wish this time of year could last all year. While going to the beach is fun, and celebrating the holidays in December is a treat, there is nothing quite like sitting in a café with a warm drink, reading a favorite book while watching as the leaves descend upon the ground. Or taking those favorite walks through Georgetown to the Potomac and advancing on a picturesque view of the heart of the city. There is just something about it, almost academic, that allows me to slip into a state of pure bliss. So have your hot sun, or your dreary cold thank you, I will take my fall!

On that note, in two weeks I fly across the globe to step foot in what is perhaps the most beautiful country in the world. I am of course speaking of Italy. The cultures, the sites, the cities, all make Italy a popular destination for the mass, and the Gallant family is no exception. I look forward to arriving in Rome and the rest of the European nation for the first time, and taking it all in. If you have any suggestions on must-do’s, please, lend your expertise. Traveling through Tuscany in the dusk is something I have always dreamed of, and now, in what is my favorite season, I can not think of any better way to spend a few fall days.

For Now, Ciao!

Tim

Friday, October 2nd - Rebecca Hunt talks about ending the season with wedded bliss.

Hi Mystics fans!

Happy Friday! I hope ya’ll have been tuning into the WNBA finals games on ESPN2. The series is tied 1-1 and I think Phoenix will be facing a full house and a tough crowd in Indiana on Sunday. The game will be on ESPN2 at 4pm EST. Last night’s game was great. I am excited to see if Indiana can get the next two wins at home and if Catchings’ will lead Indiana to their first WNBA Championship. (Just remember if Indiana does win it all that we took them to overtime in the second game of the first round; our team made such great strides this past season! )

Things here in the office are busy. Our fiscal year ended this week so we have been busy closing the books on 2009 and starting to ramp up planning for 2010. We are excited to start a camps & clinics program. David Deal, Senior Director of Business Development will be leading that charge. We have been working on planning our Women2Women programming for 2010. This group of ladies is very impressive; the women range from small business owners to executives at companies. We have a lot of fun. Check out our group members at www.hoopsnheels.com. Hard to believe, but high school girls’ basketball is also getting underway so we will be launching our second year of the High School Team of the Week program. Please email me if you know of a local high school girl’s basketball team that would be interested in participating in the program. Finally, remember to keep up with your favorite Mystics players overseas, check-out our Facebook page for updates and become our follower on Twitter @WashMystics.

On a more personal note, I got married on September 19th in my hometown of South Hill, VA. The wedding was perfect and several folks from the Mystics front office were able to attend. I will not bore you with too many details but I did want to share one thing with all the Mystics fans, I think you will get a kick out of this. Shawn (my husband) and I decided to write our own wedding vows. I was so focused on the Mystics playoff run and our season that I put-off anything related to the wedding. Sure enough, two hours before the wedding I was in the basement of the church trying to get my vows done. I kept mine short, sweet and to the point. Luckily, Crystal Hudson ran them up to the preacher right before the ceremony started. I was nervous, so I did not think much about what Shawn would write. To my shock, Shawn got a good laugh out of me and all the guests when he read his vows, which included the promise: "to be there for me through bad seasons and playoffs". While I do not believe we will have anymore bad seasons (and I do think we will be part of many more playoffs) I was touched Shawn would include that in our vows. It just goes to show how passionately I feel about our team and our organization. I believe in the Mystics and what we do, so for Shawn to recognize that and include it in his vows I knew I picked the right guy. The only other sports reference I was able to slip by my mama was the song we chose to be introduced to at the reception—the Olympic song, I asked her about walking out of the church to that one but she vetoed the idea, she never considered I would find another place to use it, haha!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Mystics basketball, as real as it gets.

Thursday, October 1st - Greg Bibb checks in.

Happy October and welcome to my favorite month of the year! The leaves are turning, the temperature is falling and Halloween is right around the corner. The calendar turned to our 10th month today and this is significant to me for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it marks the start of the Mystics new fiscal year and thus, the official close of our 2009 season. As fun as it was, 2009 is officially in the books. It’s time to move forward, continue to grow (both on and off the court) and become a better organization than we were last year.

I know our basketball operations department has already started the march for more wins in 2010. In fact, I left on Tuesday night for a business dinner around 6:30pm and on my way out the door I spotted Julie Plank and Angela Taylor immersed in a deep conversation about player personnel. They were surrounded by dry erase boards full of names and binders bursting with statistics. To say they live and breathe their jobs is a bit of an understatement.

That thought provides the segue to the second reason today’s date is significant. A year ago at this time we did not have a general manager. We did not have a head coach. We did not have Lindsay Harding, Marissa Coleman, or Matee Ajavon. What we did have was a conviction to get better and an idea of how to get there. Now twelve months later we are well on our way to where we want to go.

As much progress as we made from 2008 to 2009, I feel confident we will make even greater strides in 2010. Our staffs on the business side and the basketball side are talented, experienced and committed. I’m excited to see the work we do over the fall and winter as we prepare for our franchise’s 13th season of play.

October 1 also delivers point of significance number three…it is WNBA Finals time. Congrats to the Phoenix Mercury and the Indiana Fever for advancing to our League’s big dance. If Game One was any indication, this is going to be a dandy of a series. I previously picked the Mercury to win it all and I’m sticking with that selection, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Indiana was on the podium with Donna Orender when all was said and done. Be sure to tune in tonight as Phoenix and Indiana do battle on ESPN2.

Speaking of the Mercury, congrats to Diana Taurasi for being named the 2009 WNBA Most Valuable Player. The former Connecticut Husky can flat out fill up the peach basket, leading the League in scoring this season. She is also one of the fiercest competitors, man or woman, you will ever see. I believe she was the best player in the WNBA this season and she deserved the award.

October 1 means WNBA post-season awards season and a shout out is in order to our own Alana Beard for being named to the WNBA All-Defensive Team. AB continues to show why she is such a special athlete, ranking among the League’s elite scorers and toughest defenders. Her effort in Indiana on a bad ankle (and a host of other dings) will be one I remember for a long time.

One final kudos to deliver…this one to the aforementioned Marissa Coleman for being named to the WNBA All-Rookie squad. I think Marissa is going to be a star in our League for many years to come. Her freshman year WNBA performance was negatively impacted by an ankle injury and I’m really excited to see her next season when she returns after some time abroad.

Finally October 1 holds significance for me on a personal level. It was 12 years ago today that I began my career, starting as the Director of Public/Media Relations for the Harrisburg Heat of the long-gone National Professional Soccer League. I can remember walking into the office on that fall morning like it was yesterday. Boy have I had fun along the way.

Two years ago today I began my tenure with the Washington Mystics. I must say I have enjoyed my time here immensely. I’m blessed to work for an organization with the best fans in the WNBA, a wonderful ownership group and an extraordinary staff. I hope there are many more happy years here to come.

Yes, it is October 1. Life is good and the ride is fun. Like I said, Happy October!

Quote of the Week

“If you live in the past, you will stay there, if you learn from the past, you’re guaranteed a better future.”

Five Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• If you have a chance, get out to American University before the week is over to see the USA Women’s National Team Training Camp. The Mystics are represented by Lindsey Harding and Crystal Langhorne. Alana Beard was selected for the team, but is not participating due to injury.
• The Washington Capitals open their 2009-10 season in Boston tonight…Let’s Go Caps!
• The LA Dodgers, yes the LA Dodgers, will win the World Series.
• It was a tough week on the gridiron last week…Iowa beat Penn State and the Bengals (I can’t believe I’m typing this) beat the Steelers. Hopefully, the world returns to normal this week.
• NBA training camps are open and under way. I think the East is going to be fun to watch this year…Boston, Cleveland and Orlando are the favorites, but you never know.

Until next time,

Go Mystics!