- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 25, 2012

After enduring two seasons of single-digit wins, the Washington Mystics have turned the page. On Monday, the team fired coach and general manager Trudi Lacey, along with assistant coaches Jennifer Gillom and Marianne Stanley.

On Wednesday, the WNBA will hold its draft lottery. The Mystics finished a league-worst 5-29 and have the best chance, 44.2 percent, of landing the top pick.

Washington will be looking for a game-changer and potential franchise player to appease its disappointed and diminishing fan base.

Also in the lottery mix are the Phoenix Mercury (7-27, 27.6 percent), Tulsa Shock (9-25, 17.8 percent) and Chicago Sky (14-20, 10.4 percent).

“I’m definitely looking forward to the draft lottery,” Mystics forward Monique Currie said. “We will have the most balls in the lottery, and hopefully that will land us the No. 1 pick.”

The consensus top pick is Brittney Griner, the 6-foot-8 center from Baylor. Griner was the college player of the year and led the Bears to a 40-0 season. Griner won nearly every college award this season while averaging 23.2 points and 9.5 rebounds. A force on the defensive end, opposing teams have to account for Griner’s presence on every possession.

After Griner are two other highly coveted picks, Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins.

Della Donne, a 6-5 guard-forward, led Delaware to a 31-2 season and an undefeated turn in the CAA. Della Donne led the nation in scoring with 28.1 points and was the 15th player in NCAA Division I history to score more than 900 points in a season. She also led her team in rebounds, blocks, steals and 3-point shots.

Diggins, a 5-9 point guard, is a first-team All-American who led Notre Dame to two consecutive Final Four appearances. The reigning Big East Player of the Year, Diggins was the fourth player in NCAA Division I history to have 600 points, 200 assists and 100 steals in one season.

With three top players to pick from, the Mystics should find themselves in good draft position, as long as they don’t slip to the fourth spot.

“The past two years, the team with the most balls hasn’t gotten the No. 1 pick, but hopefully they’ll bounce our way, since they haven’t haven’t bounced our way all season,” Currie said. “We want No. 1 so we can choose which player we want.”

• Carla Peay can be reached at cpeay@washingtontimes.com.

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