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Keys to the Palace: Shatori Walker-Kimbrough breaks out in August

Stewart W. Small

I didn’t do Keys to the Palace last week because the Mystics played only one game, namely their big win over the Indiana Fever that had a halftime dance off. They finished off last week with another win over the lottery-bound Fever, but they lost two games to the Sparks and Mercury. If the Mystics make the semifinals this year, they will almost definitely face the Sparks or Mercury, so that gets me a little worried.

But until then, there are some more games left to play. Let’s hand out some virtual hardware.

Keys to the Palace

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough

SWK scored in double figures in each of Washington’s last four games minus last Sunday. Her best performance was a 7 of 9 shooting performance against the Sparks on August 16.

A fan also asked Mike Thibault why she’s been en fuego:

Emma Meesseman

The Mystics star has continued to show consistency and put up big numbers in a wide variety of major categories. Before you give her shade for only score 7 points last Friday against the Mercury, consider this. Meesseman grabbed 8 rebounds and dished three assists in that contest as well. That said, sometime

Also, Meesseman fouled out of that game because the refs don’t respect her. Sounds a lot like John Wall last season. There were at least a couple ticky tack fouls that Meesseman received that were questionable in my eyes. And in fact, she fouled five times in the three games heading into Sunday’s contest.

I guess the refs think she’s a “goon” because of this:

But at any rate, she also gets a key for not blowing up at the refs when they give her a ticky tack foul. There were just a few too many of those. And she gets a key for having to shoot the ball facing TRIPLE TEAMS! That’s right, Meesseman had to face three defenders at times in the loss to the Sparks, but she still managed to score 20 points on them.

Krystal Thomas

Thomas got two double doubles in the wins against the Fever. We’ve gotten quite used to seeing her grab 10 or more rebounds like it’s nothing so that’s nothing new. Though her 1 of 5 shooting performance against the Sparks wasn’t fun, she dished two assists in three of the last four games and has dished an assist or more in each of the last seven games.

Guest Passes

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt

TRP’s best performance was against the Fever on August 20 when she scored 18 points and dished for assists. But she also struggled in each of the Mystics’ two losses against the Sparks and Mercury.

Kristi Toliver

As the Mystics’ top perimeter player, Toliver put up the numbers we expect. She scored in double figures in three of the Mystics’ last four games. However, an 0-10 shooting performance from three against the Mercury is a bit much — though to her credit, Toliver did score 21 points in that game. Finally, this is something I found kinda interesting. Toliver blocked a shot in three of the Mystics’ last four games as well. That doesn’t happen very often with 5’7 guards!

Allison Hightower

Hightower has provided a nice spark for Washington where she scored a season high 10 points against the Fever on August 12. She didn’t make a field goal against the Fever last Sunday, but overall, Hightower has made a solid comeback to the WNBA after a couple injury ridden years. I’m glad she’s doing it here in Washington.

Tianna Hawkins

Hawkins’ standout performance was against the Fever on August 12 when she scored 9 points and grabbed 4 rebounds.

Asia Taylor

Taylor played in each of the Mystics’ last four games. Her best performance was a four point showing against the Fever on August 12.

Lockout

Natasha Cloud

It stinks that she missed the August 20 game against the Fever due to a hip injury. But Cloud played very poorly in the loss to the Sparks. I get it, the Mystics got destroyed in that game. But Cloud scored no points, had five turnovers, and fouled out. That was too hard to ignore in my opinion.

Ivory Latta

When the Mystics won, Latta scored in double figures and shot above 50 percent from the field. But Latta provided little value in the losses to the Sparks and Mercury when she failed to make a shot.

No Evaluation

Haley Peters did not get an evaluation because she didn’t get enough playing time. Elena Delle Donne and Tayler Hill were out due to injury.