After a few practices with her new team, Leilani Mitchell referred to the opportunity to play with the Mystics as a “breath of fresh air” in a zoom call with media members Monday afternoon.
The 35-year-old talked about looking for a change after playing with Phoenix for the last two years. She appeared to be happy to be with Washington although it isn’t her first time with the team. After the 2016 Olympics, she signed with the Mystics in the second half of the season. In her 10 games with the team, she averaged 5.9 points per game.
She mentioned enjoying her time back then and also being fond of Head Coach Thibault. “Even speaking to to other players throughout the league, past and present you can’t find one bad thing that people say about him,” the Mitchell said.
Mitchell will be looked at as a leader on the team, especially because of her point guard position. “My job is to make sure everyone gets involved,” she said in the zoom call. She talked about wanting to make everyone’s job easier. “Everyone has a positive attitude, they know how to win,” she added.
The team is working on chemistry as the Mystics roster boasts several new players and lacks some veterans who have opted out. “There’s a lot of unforced turnovers because we haven't played with each other and we don’t know the ins and outs of what each player likes,” she said referring to practices.” We are still gettin to know each other.”
The guard is giving everyone time to know each other but seems to understand that there’s a sense of urgency given how short the season is. “We have 10 players here so everyone has to be ready, she said.” The team, which has 10 players on the roster, will have three to four games a week so Mitchell thinks balancing minutes is one of the biggest keys.
Mitchell, who flew to Florida from Australia, explained that she has felt welcomed by the team and has seen the organization provide that same hospitality to several new players. At the end of the Zoom call, Mitchell talked about the difficulty of being away from her family and son during this season. She said she will miss the day-to-day with her toddler Kash.
“When you’re a mom it’s like the simplest, little things make you so happy...just when he picks up on a new word, or can understand something new, or just the excitement that you see on their face is heartwarming to you as a mother,” she said.
Mitchell revealed her son is turning two years old in two weeks.