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Mystics set for home opener

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The Mystics will tip off their home opener at 7pm at Verizon Center on Saturday, and bring a little momentum into the game after a hard fought overtime win over the Atlanta Dream, 98-90 on Thursday night.

The win brings the Mystics record to 1-1.

Down to eight healthy bodies with Monique Currie out for the season, Alana Beard and Ta’Shia Phillips both day to day with sprain injuries, the Mystics petitioned the league to add another player, and signed Kerri Gardin, a 6-foot-1 forward from Virginia Tech just hours before Thursday’s game.

Gardin spent the last two seasons with the Connecticut Sun where she averaged 3.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. 

The signing came just in time, as Gardin, without the benefit of one practice with the team, stepped in and played 21 minutes, pulled down five rebounds, and had a team-high six steals.

“So far, so good. It’s only been a day,” Gardin said before Thursday’s contest.

“They [the Mystics] welcomed me. They’re very, very energetic. I have to get used to that. I’m just ready to come in and compete and starting working and win games,” Gardin said.

The Mystics version of a big three, Nicky Anosike, Crystal Langhorne and Matee Ajavon, scored 83 of the Mystics 98 points.

Anosike also posted career highs in points with 29, minutes with 44, and field goal attempts with 20 in the OT victory.

Although Beard would much rather be on the floor, she acquitted herself well in the ESPN 2 broadcast when color analyst Rebecca Lobo interviewed her during the game.

Beard said her doctors described the Achilles injury that kept her out all last season as “an old man’s injury”, and called it one of the worst he had ever seen. Beard also admitted that there were times she wasn’t sure if she would play again.

Recovering from the Achilles injury only to be sidelined now with a left foot sprain frustrates the ultra-competitive Beard, but said she still has high expectations for the team, no matter how long she’s out.

Beard complimented Lobo on helping start the WNBA, now celebrating their 15th anniversary, and said she’s ready to help the next generation of players move the league forward, just as Lobo did for her.

Hopefully, we’ll see more of Beard on the court for a few more years before she moves to the broadcast booth or the coaching ranks, or wherever her post playing ambitions take her.  

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