In the Front Door!
The Mystics are playoff-bound . . . and there are still three regular season games left to play. How cool is that?
In prior years, on those rare occasions when the Mystics were still in contention for a playoff spot this late in the season, it seemed like we were always waiting for the team to nail down a spot in the final game of the regular season or we were pinning our hopes on other teams losing so the Mystics could sneak in through the back door. But not this year!
Oh no. This afternoon, the short-benched, Alana-less Mystics (picked by many in the preseason to finish last in the East) simply knocked off the WNBA's #1 team, the Seattle Storm, 80-71, at the Phone Booth. An hour later, the Connecticut Sun, who trailed the Mystics by 3 full games in the standings at the start of the day, fell to Indiana. So, with 3 games remaining in the regular season, the Mystics ended the day 4 games ahead of Connecticut. Game. Set. Match. The Mystics are going to the playoffs!!! Woo-hoo!
And make no mistake, this afternoon's match-up was a real game between two playoff-bound teams. The other night at Mohegan when the Storm played the Sun, Lauren Jackson sat out the entire game and the other Seattle starters played very limited minutes. We guess you could say the Sun hit the jackpot that night at the casino, as they grabbed an easy win to stay alive in the playoff race. But today was different. Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird, Swin Cash and all of the Storm's first string played starter minutes. Perhaps Seattle Coach Brian Agler would've rested his starters if his team had built a comfortable lead on Washington. But he didn't (rest them) and they couldn't (build much of a lead). The Mystics just wouldn't concede any ground today to the Western Conference regular season champions. No free pass (like Connecticut got) for Washington . . . and, it didn't matter, because they didn't need one!
The Mystics were down by 4 at the half, but they outscored Seattle 27-17 in the 3rd period to pull ahead and never looked back. Coach Agler contested the game until just under three minutes, when, with Washington leading by 8, he pulled Jackson and Bird.
Monique Currie came up huge for the Mystics today. She led all scorers with 25, nailed 5 of 7 from beyond the arc, hit all 6 of her free throws, and stole the ball 4 times. Lang finished with 15 points, and Lindsey had 13.
The Mystics are not only in the playoffs, but today's win set a franchise record for most wins in a season -- 19 (and counting!). The remaining week of the regular season will be spent jockeying for playoff position and home court advantage, but the four Eastern Conference playoff teams have now been decided: Indy, NY, Washington and Atlanta.
It was a great day to be a Mystics fan at the Phone Booth.
The only sour note came before the tip-off: the National Anthem was sung off key and flat by three women identified as winners of the Miss Chinese American Beauty Pageant. Their rendition of the Anthem was so painful that the players (doing their best to remain respectful) had a really hard time keeping from grimacing or laughing. (We have to assume that singing was not what these three young ladies did for the talent part of their pageant competition.)
But all's well that ends well . . . and today ended very well indeed for the Mystics and their fans. This afternoon was the last game in Washington's three-game homestand. The Mystics head to San Antonio tomorrow to face the Silver Stars on Tuesday, then return for their final home game of the regular season on Friday when the laser-hot New York Liberty (8 wins in a row!) come to town. Don't miss this one: not only is it Fan Appreciation Night, but the Mystics need all the fan support they can get in this big game against the Libs.
Wow. Two years with Angela Talyor in charge; two years with Julie Plank as Head Coach; two years in the playoffs. That's never happened before . . . two consecutive playoff seasons. We don't know about the rest of you Mystics fans, but we're liking this. A lot.
Go Mystics . . . Beat the Silver Stars!