Washington Mystic's Home Opener
Mystics Mania hits D.C. basketball courts.
After an on-the-court interview with the Washington Mystic’s newest star Katie Smith, I got to go see a game. It was the Mystic’s home opener and I was seated at the press table with a terrific view of all the action.
A great roar of approval escaped the crowd as the WNBA Mystics trotted onto the court. Each player was introduced by a booming and enthusiastic voice over the loud speaker. I received a high-five from Katie as she loped past the table.
The game started off slow-paced, and as I sat at the long media table packed with reporters and shiny laptops, I began to wonder if the action would ever pick up.
The first quarter ended, with the Mystics at 9 points, and Liberty (the opposing team) maintaining 18. Ouch.
The second quarter was better. The players seemed more determined, crouching low and menacingly, streaking down court, and supplying good defense. It ended with the Mystics' score being 31 to the Liberty's 28.
After half time, the third quarter started, transforming the court into a battlefield. The players, their faces dark and determined, thundered down the court, plowing through the defenses of the opposing team. With each score for the Mystics, a deafening din arose from the stands. Signals passed between the players, allowing them to execute brilliant plays that bypassed the defenses of the enemy team.
Occasionally, the ball would spin out of control, resulting in the ref's whistle and a call that usually provoked boo's and insults. WNBA fans are certainly passionate!
As the game picked up, the action brought more penalties. Anne Donovan, the head coach for Liberty rushed up and down the sidelines, stepping in front of me literally every time I was about to take a picture. The back of her brown suit became all too familiar!
My ears were assaulted by a women sitting next to me, who was yet another coach or advisor for Liberty. She kept yelling calls to the players such as, "Slice! Chop! Slice!" and, "Screen the screener, screen the screener!"
All the excitement left me holding my breath with the rest of the crowd during the last few minutes of the game. The Mystics held Liberty at 61, gaining a lead of 16 points. The game ended with the Washington Mystics at 77 and the Liberty 61.
After the game I spoke to Katie and asked her opinion of the game.
"It was a great game, and our defense really helped create opportunities for us to score," she told me.
With that, I met up with my Dad and my friend Ellen and her dad, and headed back to the car, my ears still ringing with the shouts and chants from the crowd. I asked Ellen what she thought about her first live professional women's basketball game. Did she think it was different from men's? She, my dad and her dad all agreed that it was a great game that wasn't necessarily better or worse than men's basketball. It was different, and definitely something they would do again.
I couldn't have said it better myself!
PHOTO: Kid Reporter Nick Berray watches the Washington Mystics during their home opener with the New York Liberty. (Photo Courtesy Nick Berray)