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Keys to the Palace: Breaking down the Mystics' individual performances after two not-so-great weeks

The Mystics had a couple poor weeks in the standings. We take a look at individual performances here and try to find some silver linings.

Stewart W. Small

We now have three weeks of WNBA basketball to analyze. Unfortunately, there aren't many wins so don't expect to see Emma Meesseman holding a key. Since I wasn't here two weeks ago, we're going to analyze things for each of the last two weeks worth of games in the same post, one week at a time.

To review Keys to the Palace and how this works, here's a review:

  • Players who exceed expectations over a week earn a Key to the Palace.
  • Players who play consistently but don't play above expectations get a guest pass. Also, players who do really well most of the week but have one bad game will generally get a Guest Pass.
  • Players who do not play up to expectations or consistently do not show a good effort will be Locked Out.
  • Players who play just two or three minutes a game over a week will generally not be evaluated. You'll see that this week.
  • Note that we use context when handing out keys such as roles and injury bouncebacks, you get the deal. Emma Meesseman has to do more on the court than everyone else just like we expect John Wall to for the Wizards. Meanwhile, a solid performance by Ally Malott could be enough for me to give her a key.

Now, here are the assessments.

Week of May 23 to May 29

This week included the May 26 win against the Seattle Storm and the May 29 loss to the Phoenix Mercury.

Key to the Palace

Ivory Latta - Latta made five threes out of seven attempts in the Mystics two games this week. When she doesn't try to do too much, she's quite deadly. Latta definitely made a nice return after missing the beginning of the season due to knee surgery.

Guest Passes

Emma Meesseman - She tied her season-high scoring performance of 19 in an overtime win over the Storm along with three blocks and still managed to score 12 points against the Mercury. I'm not giving her a key simply because I've yet to see the Meesseman we saw when the Belgian Cats defeated the Netherlands and Poland in impressive blowouts last winter.

Tayler Hill - Hill had a solid performance against the Storm by scoring 18 points and going to the line six times but followed it up with a more pedestrian scoring performance against the Mercury.

Stefanie Dolson - Dolson finally scored in double digits against the Mercury, but her rebounding numbers remain a concern for me as she only grabbed five against a smaller Storm team on May 26. Don't tell me that Dolson can't get rebounds over the likes of Crystal Langhorne, Breanna Stewart, and Ramu Tokashiki. If she didn't score in double digits, Dolson would have been locked out again.

Bria Hartley - She scored 10 points in the loss to the Mercury, but her four turnovers in the Storm game was ugly. She barely gets a guest pass for the week.

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt - TRP's performance in all areas except shooting efficiency were huge in the Storm win. Oddly enough, she scored 9 points in 14 minutes in the ugly Phoenix loss.

Natasha Cloud - She returned from injury in the Mercury loss where she scored 8 points, grabbed four rebounds, and dished three assists.

Locked out

Kia Vaughn - You can't grab one rebound in the Storm game and expect me to be happy about it. Also, she didn't do much in the Phoenix game.

Too small of a sample size

Tianna Hawkins - Only played a combined 15 minutes in the two games. Not much I could get out of it.

Ally Malott - Only played three combined minutes. If she didn't play 19 minutes in the Dream game last Sunday, I may have had to use my "Unleash the Ally!!!" meme.

Week of May 30 to June 5

This week included the June 1 and June 3 losses to the Chicago ky and the win against the Atlanta Dream on June 5.

Key to the Palace

Ally Malott - Malott scored a season-high 10 points on 3 of 4 shooting and grabbed four rebounds in the Mystics' win against the Dream on Sunday while getting 19 minutes of playing time. She didn't even get 10 combined minutes in the rest of the games she played and is one of the last, if not the last frontcourt player to get playing time.

Since she showed out after playing a combined 15 minutes in her last four games, she deserves that key. Hopefully, she gets more consistent playing time too going foward.

Guest Passes

Emma Meesseman - The good news is that Meesseman is a solid 10 point-scoring threat. She also shot above 50 percent from the field in every game. The bad news is that Meesseman has still yet to score 20 points and the Mystics quite frankly need her to be more selfish than she is.

Tayler Hill - Hill is the Mystics' most consistent scorer from the perimeter. She, however, is still a bit inefficient since she shot 3-of 14 and 3-of 11 in the losses against Chicago.

Ivory Latta - Her efficiency has remained solid from three, minus a 1-of-6 performance against the Sky last Friday. Thankfully, her nine free throws in that contest helped her score 11 points so it shows that Latta's trying to get something going, even when her shot isn't falling.

Stefanie Dolson - Her shot hasn't been falling, but she finally grabbed double digits in rebounds on Sunday against the Dream. She also dished two or more assists in all three games this past week. Finally, Dolson has been perfect from the free throw line in each of the Mystics' games over the past two weeks. Those improvements have saved her from a second trip to the "locked out" corner.

Kia Vaughn - Vaughn shot over 50 percent from the field in all three games and played better than Dolson quite frankly.

Kahleah Copper - Copper sat out Sunday's Dream game due to concussion protocols. But she continued to contribute in multiple areas during the two Sky losses where she averaged 6.5 points and 5 rebounds per game.

Natasha Cloud - Cloud's shooting isn't her forte. But she did shoot 2 of 4 from deep in the three games of the past week. That and some consistent assisting performances in each of the last two games gives her a guest pass.

Tianna Hawkins - Hawkins scored 10 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in 11 minutes during the win against the Dream on June 5. If she had a similar performance in one of the Sky games, I would have given her a Key, but she played a combined nine minutes in those games...

Locked Out

Bria Hartley - With Natasha Cloud back from illness, it wasn't a surprise to see Hartley return to a reserve role considering that she wasn't consistent. But a 1 of 9 shooting performance against ATL along with a scoreless performance against the Sky on June 1 is enough to lock her out for this week.

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt - Her performance against the Sky on June 1 wasn't bad. But she didn't provide much help for D.C. in subsequent games.

Too small of a sample size in any week

Jamie Weisner - She only played four minutes in two games over the past two weeks. But she did score five points in her short time, so maybe I should give her a pass?