When the league’s historic 20th season tipped off a little over a month ago, the Washington Mystics were a young team in search of their identity. Elder stateswoman Ivory Latta, the team’s go-to scoring option, was sidelined for the first two weeks, and the Mystics needed one or more of those young players to take a step forward.
For the fourth straight year, Emma Meesseman has done just that.
Meesseman, drafted out of Belgium at just 20 years old in 2013, continues to make strides and grow into the new centerpiece in D.C.
The 6-foot-4 forward/center was slow out of the gates, only scoring six points in the Mystics’ first game, but has scored in double-figures in every game since then. Her true breakthrough came in the squad’s Wednesday night victory in Dallas.
A season-high 23 points and 12 boards from Meesseman led to an all-important 87-79 victory. It was her third double-double of the season, tying the mark she hit for the entirety of last season. Her stellar performance also kept the Mystics firmly entrenched in the playoff hunt more than one-quarter of the way through the season.
Season-high 23p-12r for @EmmaMeesseman (10/13)
— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) June 9, 2016
For the season she’s the Mystics’ leading rebounder at 6.9 boards per game and their second-leading scorer at 14.4 points per game, combining with breakout guard Tayler Hill to form one of the league’s top up-and-coming duos. She’s shooting a highly efficient 54.7% from the floor, ranking seventh after finishing last season second at 55.6%, and has already made more threes (7-of-14) than she did in the previous three seasons combined.
Meesseman is on pace for the best season of her WNBA career thus far, and if the Mystics want to make a push for the playoffs, the 23-year-old will be the X-factor. Having a versatile big like Meesseman presents a formidable matchup for any team in the league.
Washington is currently 4-6 on the season and riding a two-game win streak during a season in which every victory counts that much more under the new playoff format. With talented bigs like Tina Charles, Candace Parker and Sylvia Fowles all being instrumental in their respective team’s success this season, it appears that the Mystics can look to Meesseman to be that go-to presence on a nightly basis.