- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mystics forward Monique Currie said it best.

“Hopefully the balls will bounce our way, since they didn’t bounce our way all season.”

But once again, there was no lucky bounce for the Washington Mystics at the WNBA Draft Lottery on Wednesday. Although the Mystics had the best chance at the No. 1 pick — 44.2 percent — they finished at the bottom and will pick fourth in April’s draft.

The No. 1 pick went to the Phoenix Mercury. The Chicago Sky will pick second and the Tulsa Shock third.

Because there are three highly-coveted college players — Baylor center Brittney Griner, Delaware guard-forward Elena Delle Donne and Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins — fourth is an especially tough place to be in this year’s draft. Griner is the consensus No. 1 pick.

The Mystics have had the No. 1 pick just once in their 15-year history, in 1999, when they selected Chamique Holdsclaw.

The next step for the Mystics organization will be choosing a new management team and coaching staff. The Mystics on Monday fired coach-general manager Trudi Lacey, who went 11-57 in two seasons. Assistant coaches Marianne Stanley and Jennifer Gillom were also let go.

“We want to start putting our heads together, hunker down and try and find the best candidates possible,” said Mystics owner Sheila Johnson in a telephone interview.

“We don’t know if we’ll combine the positions as of yet, we’re just looking for the best candidates and then we’ll make that decision. We’re looking for folks who believe in our team-first philosophy.”

Johnson said the search would begin immediately following the lottery and that she’s open to all possibilities.

“We’re just going to cast a broad net and say to those that are interested to please come to us. We’re going to interview lots of people.”

Johnson said she feels the frustrations just as deeply as the fans, and hopes that they will stick by the team as they look to make changes. Johnson says she’ll conduct a transparent search.

“We will be very open,” Johnson said. “We will let them know as we move forward how we’re going to move forward and what changes we’re going to make.”

In a league with just 12 teams and 11 players per squad, one player can make the difference between a cellar dweller and a champion. The Minnesota Lynx finished the 2010 season at 13-21 and got the No. 1 pick, forward Maya Moore from Connecticut. In 2011, the Lynx became WNBA champions.


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

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