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Top Stories of the Week: Wizards season schedule released, LaToya Sanders impresses in Rio

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Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

It’s August, and the Olympics are in full swing. We’re putting out regular previews and GameThreads each day so you can see what’s going on each and every day in Rio. It sucks that the Wizards have no current player playing on any team, and Mystics only have one player who is playing for Turkey in LaToya Sanders ... except that she hasn’t suited up in D.C. yet...

Anyway, if you haven’t checked out this site very much because we’re in the dog days of summer, here’s a weekly summary of what happened:

The Wizards’ 2016-17 season schedule is out!

Other Wizards stories

NBA: Washington Wizards at Golden State Warriors
He was rehabbing, but it’s fair to say that John Wall could have been on the USA Basketball men’s national team IF he wasn’t as injured as he was.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
  • Alan gave some early Southeast Division rankings this season. He predicts the Wizards to finish third in the division. That’s fair, though I think they could easily be second too.
  • Jake goes over who the best available small forwards are in free agency. J-Smoove or Lance Stephenson anyone?
  • We talked to VU Hoops about what to expect from Daniel Ochefu this season.
  • J. Michael of CSN Mid Atlantic reports that whoever the Wizards hire to replace former trainer Eric Waters will likely be a rehabilitative and injury prevention expert. Hands11 wrote a FanPost in endorsement of what a new training staff would hopefully provide as well.
  • Bryna Kramer of Wizards Xtra wrote about why the Wizards should pursue Ray Allen this season. I agree with Kramer’s points that Allen could be another “Paul Pierce-esque” presence on the team, but at 41 years old, he’s at best a better shooting version of Derek Fisher, who apparently wants to return as an NBA player after a 1.5 year head coaching career.
  • Candace Buckner, the new Wizards beat writer for the Washington Post, writes that John Wall and Bradley Beal are missing the ball on not being on the USA Basketball men’s national team this summer. I think it’s a bit unfair to say that Wall should have played on the team given that he is rehabbing his knees. But with Beal, I would say that he should have accepted the invitation. Declining invitations or missing out on practices are things that USA Basketball will have on its mind when the next World Cup happens in 2019. If Beal plays as well as we hope he does, don’t be surprised to see him become a “Candace Parker” because of this moment. Parker missed a Team USA practice in February, and that had to have played a part in her missing out on this year’s Olympic team.

LaToya Sanders is dominating for Turkey

Basketball - Olympics: Day 4 Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
  • LaToya Sanders is the only Mystics player on any Olympic team where she is playing for Turkey. She is second in scoring average for all Olympian at 21.8 points a game and is also averaging 7.3 rebounds per game for the Turks. On Thursday, Turkey won a close game against Belarus, 74-71 to get them to a 2-2 record in Group A play. They will finish their schedule on Saturday against Brazil who’s 0-4, and have been eliminated from the quarterfinals.

Stefanie Dolson is giving written analysis on the USA women’s team

The Mystics center is giving her takes of each Team USA game on WNBA.com. Her latest column on August 10 focuses on Diana Taurasi’s greatness.

Some things on MeesseMANIA

  • Emma Meesseman was at the beach during vacation and she’s heading back to de Verenigde Staten (or Les États-Unis), depending on what language you prefer to speak when you’re in Belgium. (I would think Emma wants YOU to think the FORMER, right?) From this tweet, she was at the North Sea I assume. I just hope she’s not made at me for impersonating her likeness with Nintendo Miis.

back we go ➡️

A photo posted by Emma Meesseman (@emma_meesseman) on

  • Speaking about Meesseman and the Olympics, there’s this. I’ll talk a little more about it next week.
  • This came out over a week ago, but I still think this is worth sharing now that the Mystics are about to get into the homestretch. Claire Halligan of Monumental Sports wrote about MeesseMANIA and about her improved stats here.
  • This isn’t a story. It’s just something for you to know. Since the Mystics’ number one basketbalspeler was in België last week, how do you pronounce Meesseman’s last name when you’re there? At least in the Dutch speaking part of Flanders? In English, we say “Mee-suh-mun.” But in Dutch, it’s not pronounced that way. it’s pronounced more like “May-suh-mahn.” I’ll just link back to the Fanatico/PlaySports video last winter when she was hanging out with the Ieper Blue Cats and you’ll hear it. She played there when she was a girl. And don’t get me started on that coach. He probably hates me. #KomaanCoachEmmaIsBeterDanJou

The Belgian Cats had a friendly against their arch rivals from the Netherlands

This isn’t exactly Meesseman-related because she didn’t play, but still related to her because she’s on the Belgian National Team. How good are they without her?

The Cats played their arch rival, the Netherlands in a friendly last Friday. They won 72-66 at home at the Hall Octave Henry in Namur, Wallonia (the French part of Belgium).

From looking at the box score, the game should have been a blowout for the Cats, but they committed 28 turnovers, eight of them by starting Cats guard Kim Mestdagh. Julie Vanloo (pronounced like Vahn-loh in the Dutch language) led the Cats with 18 points.

For the Dutch, Emese (pronounced like Uh-may-suh) Hof led the way with 16 points off the bench in the loss. Also, Miami Hurricanes guard Laura Cornelius started and scored five points.

I’m not rushing to judgment here, but the Belgians didn’t have Meesseman or a past-her-prime Ann Wauters, and still managed to beat the Dutch despite committing 28 turnovers. If Meesseman and Wauters manned the post, the Dutch would have likely been crying for mercy to take the first train back to Amsterdam, that’s for sure.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the Dutch have promise since their girls’ teams rank high in Europe, but they don’t have the talent that the Belgians do.

The next round of qualifiers is coming up in mid November where the Belgians will play Belarus on November 19 in Namur in Group G, while the Netherlands will travel to Bourges to play France in Group B. Then on November 23, the Belgians will play Poland... again while the Dutch will host Estonia on their homecourt at the Sporthallen Zuid in Amsterdam.

So, that’s all from me. Enjoy your weekends everyone!