The All-Star break is officially over, so is a good chunk of the WNBA Season. The Washington Mystics find themselves in a fairly decent position in the Eastern Conference, if the playoffs started today, they would be the third of four teams to make the postseason tournament. While Washington has been very inconsistent during the first half of the season, the collection of talent on their roster wouldn’t let them sink too low. After spending the majority of the first half of the season at home, the Mystics have been on the road much of the last month or so. Their most recent road trip was of the five game variety. The Mystics finished the trip 3-2, which wasn’t bad at all. That was good enough to bring their overall record to 10-13, good enough for third place.
The Mystics are in a very good place as the home stretch of the season begins, they have found a solid rotation and can only improve. They have been a very solid on the road this year, breaking even for a record of 6-6. They have continued to struggle at home, with a record of 4-7. Fortunately they have a chance to change that very soon, Washington starts a three game home stand this Wednesday morning. They will host Connecticut, Tulsa, and Atlanta during this stretch. In the 11 remaining games in the season, the Mystics will play five of those games at home with six being on the road. Each game will be pivotal as all but one of the games is against an Eastern Conference opponent. Washington has to figure out their issues at home if they wish to advance to the postseason, it doesn’t matter how they fared at home in the first half of the year if they can go 4-1 or 5-0 at home over the next 11 games.
Washington must continue to get contributions from everyone on their roster down the stretch, the bench will need to be just as strong as the starting unit. The Mystics are blessed with a bevy of talented bigs, as the season has gone on, each of them has learned to contribute in their assigned roles. That is and will continue to be the strength of this team, another issue to be addressed will be the offensive execution. It comes down to a point made earlier this season in an article about the roster, the Mystics will go as far as the youngsters take them.
Starting with second year forward Emma Messeman, rookie guard Bria Hartley, second year forward Tianna Hawkins and rookie center Stefanie Dolson. Meesseman has already showed a tremendous amount of growth this season, recording several career highs and several double-double outings. She’s been able to show off her outstanding footwork in the post on the offensive end, as well as versatility on the defensive end. Bria has went from an early game sub to the starting shooting guard, she’s made big strides as well and will need to continue to blossom going forward. Her presence in the backcourt with Ivory Latta gives the Mystics an additional three point threat which opens the floor up for the bigs. Hartley is also a very good attacker off the dribble, another talent that pays huge dividends for this team. Not to mention what she brings to the defensive end of the floor, she’s a very good on-ball defender and it’s very early in her career.
Hawkins has shown numerous flashes off of the bench, she provides energy and tenacity on both sides of the glass. She has a solid post game and like every other big on the roster, an ability to step out and knock down a midrange jump shot. It’s all about consistency for Tianna, when she’s rolling it makes the Mystics a very difficult team to defend. Giving them a starting pair of bigs and a dynamic pair off the bench (she’s often paired with Dolson). Last but not least, is Stefanie Dolson. The talented rookie has skill to match her size, her share presence often changes the way teams attack the basket. She started slow, but similar to her collegiate career in Connecticut, she’s made strides as she’s learned to adjust to the pace and style of the professional game. Dolson has even been paired with veteran and starting center Kia Vaughn at times, surprisingly the pairing worked well in spurts
The Washington Mystics have capable veterans in Vaughn, Ivory Latta, Monique Currie, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, Kara Lawson and others. Their postseason fate depends on how much these youngsters can contribute to the cause, if they can all find a way to be consistent in their various roles, the Mystics shouldn’t have a problem making the playoffs for the second straight year.
Do you expect the Mystics to be playing in their second consecutive postseason or will they falter down the stretch?? Share your thoughts below in the comments section!!