In their fifth game of the season, the (1-3) Mystics will take on the (1-2) Seattle Storm, and the WNBA flavor of the summer, UConn alumna and rookie Breanna Stewart. There is no shortage of highlights of her play, whether the team wins or loses, but right now, we will worry about Mystics wins.
When: Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 10 p.m., EST.
Where: Key Arena, Seattle, Washington.
TV: WNBA League Pass, JOETV.
Natasha Cloud is out due to kidney stones, according to Gene Wang of The Washington Post. Also, LaToya Sanders is fulfilling her overseas commitments.
Zoi Dimitrakou was been waived and Oregon State standout Jamie Weisner was added to the Mystics earlier this week.
Keys to the Game
Ivory Latta is set to return
Latta has been rehabbing her knee over the last several weeks, but is making the trip out west and could see playing time on Thursday.
This is an interesting match-up for two reasons
First, the Storm kinda like the Mystics on steroids because of where players were drafted. They are also one of the younger teams in the WNBA. Seattle's young core around three Top-3 overall picks over the last two seasons (Jewell Loyd, 1st pick in 2015; Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis; 3rd pick in 2015, Breanna Stewart, 1st pick in 2016).
On top of that, they still have their long-time franchise player Sue Bird and veteran power forward Crystal Langhorne who provide sage guidance to their younger players.
Second, both teams lost to the L.A. Sparks by 30.
In the thumpings, Meesseman and Stewart both had double-doubles against them, though Meesseman didn't play in the fourth quarter.
In Stewart's last two games for Seattle, she has hit 28 percent from the floor, on twelve of forty-two shooting. On 12 of 24 shooting, Meesseman is scoring much more efficiently. Stewart's rebounding has leveled off at 10 per contest. So it is safe to say she follows her own shot, and everyone else's. Keeping her off the glass should be a priority.
Loyd has also been sensational for Seattle, where she averaged 22 points their last two outings. The good news for the Mystics is that Loyd is averaging five turnovers a game as well. I'm looking forward to a shoot-out with Tayler Hill.
Below I have put together a comparison of the top four players on the Mystics. I have thrown out each of their best and worse games, to look at the numbers inside the bell curve. I have added Stewart and veteran Sue Bird from the Storm.
|Mystics||Min||Pts||2 pt %||M 3||Att||3 pt %||FTs M||Ft Att||FT %||TOTAL||Assists||Steals||Blocks||TO||Fouls|
Clearly, Sue Bird is having a terrific season, averaging 6.5 assists in the last two games. She has to be yet another piece that we have to pay special attention to.
For the Mystics, ball-handling has to be the number one issue right now. Guards with new responsibilities and vets that are just getting used to the new rotations play a big part in that stat for me. Several of Meesseman's turnovers were wrap-around passes that didn't connect. Assists should go up as that goes down. And free throw percentage. Dolson shot 87 percent last year and Meesseman 82 percent, I expect that to improve. #OrElse
Interesting facts between Washington and Seattle
D.C.'s and Seattle's NBA glory days were both at the same time - The Wizards won their lone NBA championship against the Oklahoma City Thunder in 1978 and their last NBA Finals appearance was in the following season in what ended up being a rematch of that same series.
Okay, that sounded awkward.
The Wizards were the Bullets in 1978, and the Thunder were the Seattle SuperSonics.
RIP SONICS. BRING THEM BACK!
A lot of Storm draft picks in the 2010's went to Washington - Jasmine Thomas, LaSondra Barrett, and current Mystics guard Bria Hartley were first round draft picks that the Storm originally had before trades.
In the early 2010's, then GM/Head Coach Brian Agler employed a veterans-at-all-costs strategy which sent these mid or later first round picks to Washington in exchange for veterans. Thomas and Barrett came or were drafted by D.C. because of a 2011 trade involving Katie Smith while Hartley was sent to Washington in exchange for Langhorne. Tianna Hawkins was also in that deal.
Albert Lee is an Appliance Man. Really!!! - One of our BF staff members is named Albert Lee.
And one day in 2014, he saw this commercial while watching a Storm game:
Yes, the Storm has a sponsor with his name. The store was founded by ... Albert Lee in 1939 in Seattle. Today, Albert Lee is a chain with five stores in the Seattle area along with two warehouses.
The President of the company, if you wanna know his name ... it's Albert Lee III.
And our Albert isn't afraid to poke some fun at this too:
Old tweet I know, but Albert should also visit this attraction at KeyArena during a pilgrimage if and when it happens this season!
Headed to the game? Check out the Albert Lee hydro plane!! pic.twitter.com/8Zgf6ZUzJ8— Seattle Storm (@seattlestorm) August 16, 2015
The Storm's jersey sponsor is Swedish Medical Center, a Seattle-based health system with seven campuses in their area. If it was Albert Lee Appliance instead, you'd have to wonder whether Albert Lee of Bullets Forever will switch allegiances to the green and gold, haha!
Despite their lack of older veterans, I expect the Mystics to pull this one out and the Mystics will get their first win in Seattle since 2005. Yes, I know they are on the road and the KeyArena is like what the AT&T Center is to the Wizards. But even though the Storm has a lot more traditional star talent, they're further behind the team building process than the Mystics who have played together for a pretty long time now.
The Mystics know what they are trying to do, and who to do it through. As long as the defense shows up, they should be fine.
Will TRP be on the floor a significant amount of time? Yes to both, I hope.