Mystics flailing after their hot start
It’s been a rocky week for the Washington Mystics. After starting the season 3-0 (with one of those wins coming against the indomitable Seattle Storm), Washington has spiraled.
On Friday, the Mystics dropped their third straight game to the Liberty (the Liberty!), drawing harsh criticism from head coach Mike Thibault.
“One of the most embarrassing losses, if not the most embarrassing loss, since I’ve been in DC,” Thibault said. “Not because we lost the game, but because of our approach … It’s not the same team that showed up and played the first couple games.”
To get back on track, the 3-4 Mystics have to improve on both ends of the court. Simply put, Washington looks fatigued. On offense, the Mystics are often missing short on their shot attempts, while their intensity on the other side of the ball isn’t what it used to be. But every team is dealing with the same short-rest issues that the Mystics are, and at a certain point, this team needs to execute.
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The Next’s Natalie Heavren wanted to write about Natalies. So she did it: specifically writing about Natalie Achonwa, who broke the all-time Indiana Fever Natalie rebounding record. Who did she pass? Natalie Williams.
Achonwa has a little while to go before making “Natalie history” as Heavren calls it. She still has 1,717 points and 1,154 rebounds to go before she can pass Williams on the all-time Natalie lists (apropos of the entire league). But she has a good shot at doing it.
In more Fever (and less Natalie) news, Kelsey Mitchell has elevated her play to another level. Against the Mystics on Sunday, Mitchell scored 29 points, increasing her scoring average to 20.8, good for the second-best mark in the league.
“The reality is, I needed to take a look in the mirror,” said Mitchell. “As long as my mental is good, I think it puts myself in a good position as well as my teammates to stay positive and weather storms, whether the storms include the good, bad or ugly.
The Fever could be scary moving forward as Mitchell heats up and All-Star Erica Wheeler is set to return soon. Indiana is yearning for a playoff spot. The team has failed to whiff postseason air since 2016 when Tamika Catchings retired.
Down in the world of college hoops, Harvard transfer McKenzie Forbes is betting on herself. Forbes, who started at the University of California under head coach Lindsay Gottlieb, decided to skip town when Gottlieb left the program to work for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Forbes quickly took notice of Harvard because her brother Mason plays on the men’s team.
On average, Harvard accepts less than one percent of transfer applicants. I mean, it is Harvard after all. But Forbes got in. And so she and Harvard’s six new additions will try to boost the team’s 6-8 Ivy League record when the season begins. If Harvard opens the season on January 1st, it will be Forbes’ first game in 649 days. But if anyone is ready, it’s her.
The Connecticut Sun spread the scoring around en route to a 93-82 win over the Atlanta Dream. Presumptive Rookie of the Year Chennedy Carter went down in the first quarter of the game in a tough blow to Carter and the Dream’s playoff chances. Get well soon Chennedy.
The Phoenix Mercury bounced back against the Dallas Wings, 91-79, thanks to Herculian performances by Skylar Diggins-Smith and Brittney Griner.
The Seattle Storm steamrolled the Chicago Sky 89-71 in what was supposed to be a close game against top finals contenders. The Storm are just unfair.
Play of the Day
Breanna Stewart will never stop getting buckets.