- The Washington Times - Monday, July 25, 2011

The Mystics’ 3-11 start prompted Washington to shake up its roster Monday, adding veteran forward DeMya Walker and letting go of rookies Ta’Shia Phillips and Karima Christmas.

Walker, an 11-year veteran from the University of Virginia, spent most of 2010 and 2011 with the Connecticut Sun after seven years with the Sacramento Monarchs. She began her career with the Portland Fire, which folded in 2002.

“She’s a very energetic post player who is very active on the glass, especially offensively,” said Mystics broadcaster Christy Winters-Scott.

Despite their record, the Mystics lead the league in steals and offensive rebounds.

“She fits into the mold of what the Mystics are trying to do and will really complement what the team is already getting from Nicky Anosike and Crystal Langhorne,” Winters-Scott said. “I think in adding Walker, [Mystics coach] Trudi Lacey believes that bringing in more experience will help the team get into a better rhythm, especially getting second- and third-chance points.”

Walker’s best season was in 2005, when she averaged 14.1 points and 5.3 rebounds and was instrumental in helping the Monarchs win the WNBA title.

Walker has career averages of 7.6 points and 3.6 rebounds, and is described as a tough, physical presence on both ends of the floor.

In Phillips and Christmas, the Mystics are letting go two of the team’s four rookies. The others are point guard Jasmine Thomas and forward Victoria Dunlap, the Mystics’ first-round draft pick.

Christmas, the Mystics’ second-round pick, appeared in 14 games and was averaging 3.4 points and 10 minutes. Phillips appeared in 10 games, averaging 1.9 points in 5.5 minutes.

“I think that Phillips is probably a year away from being able to play in the WNBA style,” Winters-Scott said. “A year overseas will serve her well. Her half-season with the Mystics will help her learn the kind of speed and physicality she’ll need to play in the WNBA.”

As for Christmas, she landed on her feet quickly, getting picked up by the Tulsa Shock, who recently waived former Olympic track star Marion Jones.

“Karima got off to a great start with the Mystics, and hit a lot of 3-point shots in those early games,” Winters-Scott said. “But lately she started having a lot of foul trouble, and that really took her out of her rhythm.

“But the fact that she got picked up right away shows she’s ready for the WNBA. With a team like Tulsa, she’ll get a lot more playing time.”