It’s that time of the year! The Mystics have announced the training camp roster to start off the 2019 season beginning with Media Day on Monday, May 6 according to a press release by the team on April 30. The team will host their first media day from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. on the main court at the new Entertainment and Sports Arena in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
Notable players attending will be veterans Natasha Cloud, Elena Delle Donne, Tianna Hawkins and Kristi Toliver. Washington’s first-round pick Kiara Leslie from North Carolina State will also be there.
2019 Mystics Training Camp Roster
|24||AJ Alix||G||5'6||R||FLORIDA STATE||USA|
|11||Natasha Cloud||G||6'0||4||ST. JOSEPH'S (PA)||USA|
|11||Elena Delle Donne||F-G||6'5||6||DELAWARE||USA|
|5||Kiara Leslie||G||6'0||R||NC STATE||USA|
|33||Emma Meesseman||F||6'4||5||ESB VILLENUEVE-D'ASCQ||BELGIUM|
|6||Kim Mestdagh*||G||5'11||R||COLORADO STATE||BELGIUM|
|23||Aerial Powers||F-G||6'0||3||MICHIGAN STATE||USA|
|30||LaToya Sanders*||F-C||6'3||6||NORTH CAROLINA/USA||TURKEY|
Biggest surprise: Emma’s coming to training camp!
The return of Mystics’ forward Emma Meesseman is the surprise because her commitment to the Belgium National Team took priority. Meesseman missed much of the 2017 season, was out the entire 2018 season and there was uncertainty if she’d be back in time for training camp or would train with the Belgian Cats again. We explained that Belgium is playing several friendlies before Women’s EuroBasket from June 27 to July 7. And their group is the “Group of Death” of the tournament.
But now that we know Meesseman’s back, fitting her into the roster is what needs to be kept in our peripheral vision. Keep in mind that the Mystics made it to the 2018 WNBA Finals without her. So this team won’t have to rely on her like they did during the 2014-16 seasons when the Mystics had less talent. Still, it is important that Meesseman, a WNBA All-Star, improved a lot as well. She will be 26 years old this season and is just entering her prime.
It’s tough to say where she’ll fit in, whether she’s the starting power forward once again or if she comes off the bench because of the team’s chemistry last season. Only time will tell as the season gets underway.
Who won’t make it to camp on time?
Not everyone will make it to camp because they are still currently overseas or just finished commitments then: Kim Mestdagh, LaToya Sanders, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough.
In Mestdagh’s case, her overseas team, Cukurova is in the Turkish KBSL semifinals. The Turkish season could end as late as mid-May if they make the Finals and she told Belgian media that she wouldn’t report to D.C. until right before the regular season.
Sanders was on Reyer Venezia in Italy and their season ended in the Italian semifinals last week. Walker-Kimbrough played for Miskolc in Hungary where her team made the Finals against Sopron Basket, one of the most powerful teams in Europe.
Rebecca Greenwell, the Mystics’ third round draft pick from 2018, will not be playing this season due to an injury she suffered.
Which 2018 Mystics players won’t return?
Three players will not be back from the 2018 team. Monique Currie retired last February to take a position with Nike. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt signed with the Los Angeles Sparks. And Krystal Thomas was not re-signed.