When I said last week that winning one out of two this week would be perfectly respectable, this isn't quite what I had in mind.
On Tuesday, August 11, the Mystics had a disappointing loss to the Indiana Fever 73-62 (currently tied with the Mystics for the second best record in the East). The Mystics could not stop former MVP and 5x DPOY Tamika Catchings, who scorched them for 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.
For the Mystics, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt lead the way with 17 points (on 8-12 shooting), but the House of Posts Emma Meesseman and Stefanie Dolson had a rough night, shooting a combined 3-11 (3-12 if you count Kia Vaughn's scoreless 17 minutes as well). Ivory Latta started at point guard despite Lawson being available to play and scored 13 points, including three triples.
On Sunday August 16, the league-leading Minnesota Lynx, who feature four Olympians in their starting lineup came to the Verizon Center and lost 77-69 to the home team. The Mystics struggled to score a bit in the second half, but their defense clamped down and got the job done.
Tierra Ruffin-Pratt had the primary job of guarding reigning MVP Maya Moore, who shot just 4-15 on the night and turned the ball over four times. Ivory Latta went back to the bench but exploded for 20 points; Kara Lawson started and added 15 of her own. Emma Meesseman was a perfect 5-5 from the field before dislocating a finger on her shooting hand and leaving the game in the third quarter.
Here are the main takeaways from the week that was.
Will Emma Meesseman miss time, and if so who will step up in her absence?
It's currently unclear whether Meesseman will be available to play this week. If she does miss time, her minutes will likely go to LaToya Sanders and Kia Vaughn. Both players have provided big energy boosts off the bench this year and should be up to the task.
Sanders is a combo forward that can make opposing power forwards chase her around the floor while Vaugn is a more traditional PF/C with a great mid-range jumper. Both will likely see minutes next to Dolson, depending on whether Mike Thibault wants to play bigger or smaller.
Anyone can win the East
The Mystics are currently tied with Indiana for the second best record in the East. #1 New York is just two games ahead, and #4 Chicago is just half a game behind. Though these four will likely be the top four at the end of the season, #5 Connecticut is just two games behind Chicago and fighting hard to make the playoffs.
Anyone could end up with home court, and unlike in the top-heavy Western conference every Eastern conference playoff series will probably be competitive, as long as everyone stays healthy.
BF's Mystics Player of the Week (August 10 - 16): Tierra Ruffin-Pratt
This was a tough one, because Ivory Latta's had a fantastic week as well, but I'm giving TRP the nod.
This is because her defense and hustle played a major part in beating the Lynx on Sunday, and she did as good a job slowing down Maya Moore as anyone could. In addition to defending Moore, TRP contributed 10 points (including 6 free throws), and had two assists and three steals. Mystics fans should also be happy to note that she is becoming a very respectable spot-up shooter from three, shooting a career-high 40% this season on a career-high 30 attempts (she made just 5-20 in all of last season and 1-7 in her rookie year).
Who do the Mystics play this week (August 17 - 23)?
|Wednesday, August 19
|WNBA Live Access
|Friday, August 21
|WNBA Live Access
You know what would be awesome? Sweeping the Lynx. Let's do that, Mystics. And in case you didn't know, they swept the Lynx in 2013 as well!