It was a signature win for the Mystics — a 67-66 upset victory over the Indiana Fever on June 15. For Mystics guard Shannon Bobbitt, it was a statement game.
Released by the Fever and signed by the Mystics two days earlier, Bobbitt didn't have to wait for what most players dream of — a chance to play against a former team and achieve some measure of payback.
Bobbitt delivered. She scored eight points, dished out five assists and pulled down two rebounds in 19 minutes. It was just another moment for the 5-foot-2 guard, the WNBA's smallest player, to continue defying the odds.
"Before I made it, that's all I heard, that I wouldn't make it because I'm too small," Bobbitt said.
"I think that motivated me a lot. I love to prove people wrong, I love the challenge. I've been facing obstacles all my life so far, and I've been achieving. I'm just excited about everything in my journey."
Bobbitt's days of learning to overcome obstacles started early. Born in New York City, one of eight children, Bobbitt relied on her faith in God and belief in herself to get where she wanted to be: the WNBA.
Her skills were honed on Harlem's courts and playgrounds where Bobbitt hours practicing and dreaming of a future playing alongside standouts such as Cynthia Cooper and Tina Thompson.
"I wasn't brought up with a silver spoon in my mouth," Bobbitt said. "I think what motivates me is just wanting to be successful in life and make a good living for my family."
Bobbitt cites her work ethic and decision making as factors that helped lead her from Harlem to Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas, where she was named Junior College Player of the Year in 2006. Bobbitt then attended Tennessee and was a member of the 2007 NCAA championship team. She also was named to the all-tournament team.
Selected 15th overall by Los Angeles in the 2008 draft, Bobbitt spent two seasons with the Sparks and one with Indiana before the Mystics signed her in June. She is the primary backup point guard behind starter Jasmine Thomas and is called upon to provide a spark of energy, with a side order of toughness.
"She's a very focused and very determined player; some of the things you want to have in a point guard," said Mystics coach Trudi Lacey.
"She has a little edge about her, a little confidence about her which I like. She's done a really good job of playing to her attributes, which are her quickness her intensity. I don't think she sees [her height] as a disadvantage."
Told by doubters that she'd be posted up by every opposing point guard in the league because of her size, Bobbitt shrugs off the notion that her height is a liability.
"Defensively, I'm a monster. I'm a pest on defense," Bobbitt said. "They [opponents] have to play to their strengths, and I say when it's time to guard me they're going to have a problem too, so it's a double-edged sword. I don't worry about my height because it's something I can't change."
Bobbitt ranks second in the WNBA in assists per 40-minute period (7.7), and sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.1).
"She's so low to the ground," Lacey said, "it's very tough to take the ball away from her."
Bobbitt also is known for vocal leadership and the ability to build up her teammates. It's a trait that comes naturally after spending a lifetime disproving her doubters.
"I definitely thank my parents for being behind me 100 percent," Bobbitt said. "I'm a strong believer. I just worked hard and never gave up. A lot of [doubters] are definitely shocked, and they're biting their tongues right now. I'm just appreciative to be here."
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