The Mystics won their final game before the Olympic break, a decisive 70-53 victory over the New York Liberty. Coach Trudi Lacey and several Mystics players commented that this win was the signal that things would start to turn around in the second half of the season.
Not so much.
After the four and a half week hiatus, the Mystics got back to business with back-to-back road games against the Indiana Fever on Thursday and the Minnesota Lynx on Friday. Both games resulted in blowout losses.
On Thursday, the Mystics fell 84-66 to the Fever. On Friday, they were swept off the court by the defending champion Minnesota Lynx, 98-69.
It wasn’t the second half start Lacey was expecting.
“We really spent a lot of time on fundamentals and really getting to know one another,” Lacey said. “We had a lot of players miss training camp so really spending that month together was like a training camp for us. It’s tough to start the second half of the season on a back-to-back.”
To say nothing of a tough draw. Indiana has Olympian and future Hall-of-Famer Tamika Catchings, while the Lynx have no less than three members of the Olympic team on their squad – Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen.
“They are two very good teams,” Lacey said. “Obviously Minnesota is very good and very deep. We used this opportunity to play a lot of our young players and give them some game experience. So we think that will help us down the road.”
Lacey does her best to put a positive spin on the Mystics woes, but admits that the team is turning the ball over at an alarming rate.
“We had 19 turnovers and they scored 32 points off our turnovers, so that’s an obvious area we need improvement on,” Lacey said. “They scored 54 points in the paint, a lot of that came off our turnovers. So you know our main focus is really taking care of the ball.”
Forward Crystal Langhorne acknowledged the team also had some problems against the zone.
“They played that zone defense and they tried to slow us down playing the full court press,” Langhorne said. We just didn’t take care of the ball. We gave a team like that who can score too many easy baskets.”
It was especially disconcerting, considering that eliminating turnovers was on of the areas the team worked on during the break.
“We worked on our different defenses,” Langhorne said. “We worked on taking care of the ball, and today it didn’t show at all what we’ve been working on as a team.”
In the game against the Fever, the Mystics got off to a good start in the first half, but the second half was filled with mistakes and missed shots – something the team could not recover from.
Forward Monique Currie and center Michelle Snow believe the team needs to exert a little more mental toughness and focus.
The 4-16 Mystics now have to hope that a return to Verizon Center for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Sky (8-10) will start to turn things around in their favor. The Mystics will unveil their All-Time team at halftime. The fans chose Crystal Langhorne, Murriel Page, Vicky Bullett, Nikki McCray and Chamique Holdsclaw as the top five players in franchise history.
But they still can’t get a break from Olympians. The Sky have two – forward Swin Cash and center Sylvia Fowles.