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Keys to the Palace: Krystal Thomas remains in form in mid-July

Washington Mystics v Phoenix Mercury Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Mystics split their games last weekend, beating the Indiana Fever 72-58 last Friday and losing to the New York Liberty 88-55 last Sunday. They also lost Tayler Hill for the remainder of the season due to a right ACL tear. Ugh.

There’s still nearly half of the regular season and playoffs to go, so there’s no time to fret. Let’s check in and see how everyone did.

Key to the Palace

Krystal Thomas

On the starting lineup, you have players who know going into the season that they aren’t going to get many touches. Their jobs are to defend and get clean up buckets. Thomas has continued to do that job as well as anyone could have hoped.

Thomas best scoring performance was a 14 point effort against the Fever and she followed that up with a 7 point and 10 rebound performance against the Liberty. All-Star reserve selections are later tonight, and Thomas could manage to be part of this weekend’s festivities in Seattle given how she’s grown this season.

Guest Passes

Emma Meesseman

With Tayler Hill out for the rest of the season and Elena Delle Donne’s status up in the air, Meesseman finds herself in the same position she was before EDD showed up: she is once again MYstics’ number one option. She scored in double figures for each of her last four games and made four three pointers this past weekend. So overall, I think she’s got the message. Now is the time to “take over,” just like she did EuroBasket last June.

All that said, Meesseman isn’t in Key territory. She managed to get ZERO rebounds against the Liberty on Sunday in an 85-55 loss. The Mystics were outrebounded 46-30 in the game, and somehow, Meesseman wasn’t able to grab ONE rebound against a Tina Charles / Kia Vaughn / Kiah Stokes frontcourt. Yes, they’re all physical bigs who are willing to push folks around and their head coach prides himself on living his “Bad Boys” legacy through the Liberty. But you gotta get ONE REBOUND at your height Emma.

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt

Her shooting efficiency left room for improvement, but she was a strong rebounding presence, including 11 rebounds in the Fever win, so that’s just enough to keep her in guest pass territory.

Ivory Latta

She scored nine points in each of the two games last weekend, but shot 2-11 from three. The silver lining is that she made all six of her free throw attempts.

Natasha Cloud

Cloud didn’t play particularly spectacular or terrible last week -- the definition of a guest pass.

Tianna Hawkins

Hawkins’ best performance was an 11 point effort against the Fever where she also found her way to the free throw line (7 of 8 attempts). She shot 3 of 13 against the Liberty which dashed her hopes of earning a Key.

Lockouts

Tayler Hill

It’s unfortunate that Hill will miss the rest of the season. But she wasn’t playing well in the Fever victory either. So she’s locked out.

Kristi Toliver

With injuries to Delle Donne and Hill, Toliver will have to step up as Emma Meesseman’s right hand woman. After a 3 of 7 shooting performance for eight points against the Fever, Toliver followed that up with a 1 of 7 shooting performance against the Liberty.

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough

Walker-Kimbrough played a career-high 20 minutes against the Liberty last Sunday where she missed all four of her shots (which were threes) and didn’t really contribute anywhere else. I get that she should be playing more even if she is a rookie. But her performance last Sunday hurt more than it helped.

Not enough time for an evaluation

Elena Delle Donne hardly played in the Fever game due to her ankle injury and missed the Liberty game the following Sunday. Asia Taylor and Jennie Simms played spot minutes.