Mystics take Shock in overtime; Sky rout Mercury

In today’s first game, the Mystics topped the Shock in overtime, 95-90, behind Ivory Latta’s 27 points. Four players were in double figures for Washington, and three were for Tulsa.

Box score.

Then the Sky routed the Mercury, 102-80. Rookie Elena Delle Donne lead all scorers for a while, and ended with 22 while teammate Epiphanny Prince had 26. Phoenix rookie Brittney Griner dunked twice during the game.

Box score.

Good game quotes here.

Thoughts, in no particular order:

– Possible theme for opening weekend: expect the unexpected. It’s a different league now, as evidenced by the Storm getting their asses kicked, the Mystics winning, and rookies going off. Veterans are also showing out. It’s like everyone got some energy drink.

– Now, if we could keep some of these players with a team for more than two seasons, the WNBA would have something to really market.

– Was there anybody else besides me who said Phoenix won’t be as good as everyone expects them to be, and to not automatically hand them the championship? They may just end up taking it all, as four months from now is a long time. But they’ve got work to do, as we saw today. Making one good college player appear isn’t necessarily an immediate solution.

– Two 100-plus scoring games on opening weekend is an indicator of a good season to come.

– Elena Delle Donne is ridiculously skilled. She filled up her stat column nicely, and matched Griner for rebounds and blocks, though she’s much shorter. I took an unofficial twitter poll during the game today, and it was 50/50 on whether Griner should have been first pick, or EDD. Whatever the case, Chicago has a very special player.

– The guys in the weight room at my gym liked Griner’s second dunk. Men will be paying attention to that, trust me. They don’t think you can have a basketball game without a dunk.

– I thought the Liberty and the Shock would be off to a stronger start. I guess that goes with “expect the unexpected.”

– Watch out for the Sparks. They are loaded.

– The Lynx need to hurry up and play. And are the Dream going to be better than people guessed they would?

– The claim to the trophy is wide open right now.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Energy drink is right. Already two games have scores in triple figures. I think every team has the "Big 3" on their minds even when they're not playing PHX, CHI, or TUL. The Big 3 have raised the standards and expectations and I think players and coaches are acting accordingly.

  2. I don't think they've raised the standard, as plenty of players are better than them. But they have increased the pressure and the hype. And that's a good thing.

  3. I thought the Washington / Tulsa game was well played. Thibault clearly knows what he's doing and has put together a competitive squad out of the ashes of the prior two years. I don't know if Washington deserves a coach as good as him, but they were smart enough to bring him in. It may save the franchise there. He made a great call on his PG Latta. She's a baller. The importance of an early season road win can't be overstated. Good for them. For Thibault I'm sure success will be the best revenge.

    While I don't think Diggin's poor efficiency metrics so far are a total disaster, even when she played for ND I used to be amazed how she would drive the lane throw up unlikely shots that somehow found the bottom of the net. Always seemed like she had a magical touch on doubtful shot selection. That magic hasn't happened in the W so far. Maybe due to the higher talent level or maybe she just needs to find her groove. We'll see. Tulsa is competitive and with Cambage back they'll win some games this year. Looking forward to seeing Cambage bang with Griner. Diggins is all kinds of marketing magic that's for sure.

    EDD obviously looked great. Basketball IQ is thru the roof. Totally spread the floor and made everyone look better. Pokey is my least favorite coach in all of sports but credit to her on the game plan and execution. She clearly outcoached Gains who had no plan once Griner got in foul trouble. Another big road win early in the season. Thought the media, WNBA & ESPN made way to big a deal of Griner's garbage time performance. PHX has a long ways to go.

    If any of the "3 to see" are going to own the W it will be EDD not Griner or Diggins. She's the real deal and also playing in a huge, basketball loving market.

  4. I think that's what makes EDD so interesting. Due to her unique size, range and skills she creates match up problems for every team in the league. Nneka is athletic enough for sure but I doubt LA will want her chasing EDD around on the perimeter too much. Maybe though. It's also going to give us a chance to see which coaches are the strongest and able to set up schemes to deal with the new challenges of players like Del Donne and Griner.

    Even with Griner's physical gifts most of the W teams have strong experienced 5's in the middle that can hold their own against her like we saw on Monday. Once Griner gets some experience under her belt and gains some weight / strength she could really be dominant, but for now not so much. If she ever masters Kareem's Sky Hook everyone will be in trouble. I was kinda impressed that she tried one in the game against the Sky. For now if I'm coaching against PHX I'd go straight at Griner until she can prove she can keep herself in the game.

    One unintended consequence of the 11 person roster is that a coach can't really "platoon" against someone like Griner and have 10 or 15 fouls to give. Not enough team depth.

    I'm not a Diggins hater. Any rookie that gets 11 assists in her second game is a baller for sure. I just don't think she creates the types of problems for the competition that the other two will. Frankly I thought the best pure guard that played on Monday was Prince. Six of Nine from downtown! That is serious shooting.

  5. Hey Huskygrl – I'm not a big ATL fan although I am a Louisville WCBB follower so I try to keep track of Angel. I wanted to get more familiar with your team so was looking at your roster over the weekend.

    I'm curious about Erika de Souza. She's been in the middle for you folks for six years now and has done a great job, making All Star in '09. I see that she was with the LA Sparks back in 2002 when they won their last title. She only played for a limited amount of time there and then disappeared for five years coming back to the W in 2007 to the Sun and then 2008 till today with ATL.

    Do you have any idea why she left the W in what should have been the prime of her career between 2003 & 2006? Makes no sense to me. I did a bit of research and discovered that there was a big mess with the Sparks in 2003 involving claims of sexual assault in which the victim was an unnamed former Sparks player from South America. This evidently resulted in Latasha Byers being cut from the Sparks. Can't find who that baller was but de Sousa is from Brazil and the timing is close.

    I'm not looking to kick up dust on this but given how strong de Sousa has been for ATL a person has to wonder how she would have done had she been in the W in the early stages of her career. Might have been one of the best.

    Sue – you're a long time Sparks fan, maybe you can clarify. It looks like Byers was a key part of their championship teams and was generally well liked on the team. Ugly ending. Lawsuits, etc.

    Interesting stuff.

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