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Keys to the Palace: Vaughn, Mitchell, Meesseman earn our virtual top honors in a tough week

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Last week was tough, but I still think many players did well nevertheless.

Emma Meesseman of the Washington Mystics is about to shoot a three point shot while Crystal Langhorne and Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm are surprised she is open.
No Lang and Stewie, you don’t leave Meesseman open like that!
Stewart W. Small

The Mystics went 1-2 in their three game homestand and are now 12-19 for the season. They beat the Chicago Sky, 118-81 last Wednesday, but lost to the Seattle Storm on Friday, 81-76, and the Indiana Fever on Sunday, 80-73.

Six of the eight playoff teams have earned their tickets, and it’s unlikely that Washington will get into the playoffs considering that the Phoenix Mercury is currently 8th place AND owns the tiebreaker against Washington.

All in all, I’m not surprised that the Mystics were due for a setback season sometime in the Thibault Era. It’s not because of bad coaching — Thibault has done a fantastic job in that regard. And it’s not because the players aren’t trying or fitting his system — for the most part, they are. It’s that the Mystics are often outmanned and don’t have high draft picks which everybody else has.

We’ll get into those discussions once the season is done for sure. ‘Til then, we have a couple more weeks of these player reviews. Let’s go.

Keys to the Palace

Kia Vaughn, 10 ppg, 5.3 rpg

Vaughn scored in double digits in two of the three games this past week and also shot 68.2 percent from the field. She may not be starting, but she’s definitely getting her fair share of playing time due to her consistent effort this week. And this is here second straight key by the way!

Leilani Mitchell, 10 ppg

Mitchell’s scoring average was a bit skewed because of her 20 point performance against the Sky. That said, she’s doing her job very well as a spark plug off the bench to stretch the floor. In the last three games Mitchell made seven of 12 three point shots, and she even grabbed four rebounds against Indiana despite her diminutive stature.

Emma Meesseman, 17 ppg, 4 rpg, 4 apg

Meesse shot 57.5 percent this past week and did a lot of different things each game to keep things interesting. I don’t like that she only got one rebound in the Fever game, but thanks to some foul trouble, she couldn’t be as aggressive. Let’s give her a key this week in light of her efforts being overlooked for much of the past week.

Guest Passes

Tayler Hill, 15.7 ppg, 3 apg, 2 rpg

Overall, Hill shot over 60 percent from the three point line and contributed in the passing game as well. But her 4 of 16 shooting performance against the Storm can’t be ignored — even if that line is slightly deflated due to her role as the designated closer.

Natasha Cloud, 7.3 ppg, 6.7 apg, 3.3 rpg

I wished that Cloud’s scoring would be a bit higher — and it should be. But I was impressed with her passing and playmaking given her high assist numbers over the past five days.

Stefanie Dolson, 12 ppg, 5 rpg, 2 apg

This was a consistent week for Dolson in the raw production department. I won’t give her a key since her overall shooting could’ve been a bit better. But she has gotten out of the early and midseason funk. For now.

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, 9 ppg, 5 rpg, 2.7 apg

TRP also had a pretty consistent week. But as a starter, she should not have a 1 of 6 performance if I’m giving her a key. But again, she had a good week statistically.

Kahleah Copper, 6.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg

Copper’s best performance was during Chicago when she scored 11 points on 4 of 6 shooting. Her other performance were meh, but she’s a rookie reserve, so that’s just a learning experience.

Ally Malott, 1.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg

Most of Malott’s production came in the big win against Chicago. When she can contribute in limited minutes like she did then, we’ll take it.

Out or Injured

Bria Hartley’s out for the season due to pregnancy. Ivory Latta and LaToya Sanders were injured. Get well soon!