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Monthly Archives: August 2017

Mystics looking for a little rhythm — and luck — heading into the playoffs

Courtesy of The Washington Post:

With three games left in the regular season, the Washington Mystics are taking aim at two marks, one reachable through their own doing and the other requiring considerable assistance.

A win against the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena would guarantee Washington a home game in the WNBA playoffs. The Mystics secured a fourth postseason berth in five years when they beat the Indiana Fever on Aug. 20.

Two losses in a row since have left Washington as a long shot to claim a top-four seed and the accompanying first-round bye. For that scenario to unfold, the Mystics (17-14), now in the No. 5 slot, would need to win out and have either the New York Liberty or the Sun lose each of their remaining games.

The Mystics, losers of four of their past five games, trail third-seeded Connecticut (20-11) by three games and No. 4 seed New York (20-12) by 2½ .

“The biggest thing for me is to be playing better basketball with some rhythm going into the playoffs,” Coach Mike Thibault said. “We’ve had no rhythm at all. It’s just been disjointed really.”

Part of the uneven play, according to Thibault, is attributable to injuries late in the season. All-star forward Elena Delle Donne, for instance, has played two games since undergoing left thumb surgery that kept her out of the lineup for more than two weeks.

The 2015 WNBA MVP’s first practice since the procedure was last Thursday, immediately before a back-to-back, the Mystics’ only such stretch this year. Delle Donne scored 29 points, matching her season high, with 11 rebounds during Saturday’s 83-78 home loss to the Dallas Wings.

Washington had lost to the Liberty, 74-66, Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

“I’m all right,” Delle Donne said. “Obviously all of our bodies are a little tired. I think both were great tests. Unfortunately, we came away with losses in those tests, but they are good games to be in right now, especially with the playoffs right around the corner. A back-to-back is always a struggle.”

Guard Natasha Cloud, a top reserve, has missed the past three games with a partial plantar fascia tear in her right foot. She continues to rehab but may not play again until the postseason, Thibault said, leaving the club even more shorthanded during this critical juncture.

Washington already is without starting guard Tayler Hill, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee in mid-July. She was the Mystics’ second-leading scorer at the time and has missed the past 13 games.

Thibault gave his players Sunday off and had them in film study Monday afternoon, allowing for additional time to rest. The Mystics’ final two regular season games are Friday at home against the Seattle Storm and Sunday on the road against the Minnesota Lynx , which has won three WNBA championships since 2011.

“We’re going to have to get back to work in the couple days before we play a game just to try to get everybody on the same page,” Thibault said of his plans later this week. “It’s going to be hard. I was looking at our games lost to injuries, and I was just shaking my head, not as much just for people being out but being out at different times so you’re always re-scrambling things.”

Turns out Washington will be playing Tuesday night because of another unforeseen circumstance. The Mystics originally had been scheduled to face Connecticut on July 28 in the rubber match of their three-game series, but a leak in the roof at Capital One Arena forced postponement until a month later.

After another leak delayed the Mystics’ game against Indiana for 45 minutes on Aug. 12 — creating the opportunity for a dance-off between the two teams during the interlude — the roof at the 20-year-old arena has undergone repairs, according to Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns and operates the facility, in an effort to guard against additional leaks.

Tuesday’s forecast calls for a chance of rain throughout the day.

 

Original Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/mystics/mystics-looking-for-a-little-rhythm—and-luck—heading-into-the-playoffs/2017/08/28/fcc8c92c-8c10-11e7-84c0-02cc069f2c37_story.html?utm_term=.7513a6da8789

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Elena Delle Donne’s Nike React Hyperdunk 2017 PE is inspired by the Air Swoopes

Courtesy of Sneaker News:

Back in 1996 when Sheryl Swoopes became the first female basketball player to get a signature shoe, it was quite a big deal. Among those paying attention was a young Elena Delle Donne, who even at seven years old, had to have a pair of the Air Swoopes right away. Now the current WNBA star honors her childhood basketball and sneaker hero with a very special edition of the Nike React Hyperdunk 2017 in a PE inspired by Swoopes’ first shoe.

Customized with special touches calling back to the Air Swoopes, the Delle Donne’s Hyperdunk features a split color block, added heel tabs, and the same pattern on the textile inner lining. Elena adds a couple more of her own touches to the PE: an angel wing tattoo graphic as a tribute to her sister Lizzie, and “Demand Excellence” visible underneath the translucent outsoles.

Delle Donne wore the “Swoopes” React Hyperdunk 2017 PE on-court Saturday, August 26th. The shoe hits retail November 4th in limited supply at Nike.com.

 

Original Source: https://sneakernews.com/2017/08/28/elena-delle-donne-nike-react-hyperdunk-2017-pe-air-swoopes/

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WNBA players will be featured in a video game for the first time

EA Sports will be adding them in their upcoming ‘NBA Live 18’ basketball game.

Courtesy of Blasting News:

Since #Ea Sports revived their “NBA Live” series following a four-year hiatus in 2013, they have not fared well at all against the juggernaut that is 2K Games “NBA 2K” series. After taking 2016 off and spending extra time on the upcoming “#NBA Live 18,” they are hoping it can fully compete. Now they are doing something never done before in a basketball video game. Today, EA Sports announced the inclusion of #WNBA players and teams in their game.

EA Sports’ past history of innovation

The “NBA Live” series has been known for trying new things, as they routinely included international teams playing under FIBA rules for years in their games.

EuroLeague play last appeared in “NBA Live 09” before being added to “NBA 2K14” for the first time back in 2013.

Back in 2015, EA Sports also added female players for the first time in their “FIFA 16” video game. They added 12 women’s national soccer teams to the game that year and had American Soccer star Alex Morgan share the U.S. regional cover of the game with Lionel Messi. Now with “NBA Live 18,” EA Sports has once again taken the opportunity to innovate and expand basketball to more people by adding the WNBA to their game.

WNBA players will be part of the digital basketball landscape

The rosters of all 12 WNBA teams and their players will only be available to play in “NBA Live 18.” There will be a new WNBA Play Now mode added to the game so that the teams, along with authentic courts and jerseys, can be used.

In a statement released by the executive producer of the game, Sean O’Brien, he teased that “This is only a taste of what we have in store.” He also added that they are looking forward to working with the WNBA on more integration into the game in the future.

WNBA stars scanned into the game

Besides being playable in WNBA Play Now, EA Sports also brought in many of the league’s stars to have their heads scanned into the game. These included past MVPs Elena Delle Donne, Maya Moore, and Diana Taurasi, as well as 2016’s Rookie of the Year Breanna Stewart and the 1st pick of the 2017 WNBA Draft Kelsey Plum. Others known to have been scanned are Tina Charles, Brittney Griner, and Sue Bird.

The game will not allow for players to give WNBA players a fully customized experience like NBA or user-created male players. However, the plan moving forward is to change that in future installments of the game. O’Brien added that the WNBA being part of the game is “something that we’re absolutely committed to moving forward.”

Source: http://us.blastingnews.com/gaming/2017/08/wnba-players-will-be-featured-in-a-video-game-for-the-first-time-001903965.html

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Washington Mystics players speak out about President Trump, politics in Washington Post story

Courtesy of Fansided:

Politics is a tricky subject to navigate, particularly for professional athletes subject to media scrutiny, fan criticism, and the expectations of their own team.

The Washington Mystics don’t seem to care.

In an eye-opening piece in the Washington Post on Sunday, players and coaches spoke out about current events and whether they would visit the White House if invited.

For the Mystics, it starts with the coach. The story says Mike Thibault welcomes political discussion around his team, no matter the views, and encourages his players to support causes that are important to them.

“I’m not trying to be dramatic about it; I just think it’s important that you stand up for what you think’s right,” Thibault said. “I don’t know if it’s the teacher part of me or the activist part of me, I don’t know what it is. I just feel like I want them to stand for something, whatever it is.”

Part of that could mean making a difficult decision if the Mystics win the WNBA Championship (a big “if.” The Mystics are on track for a playoff spot, but would have to get past several teams in seemingly better shape.). Major sports champions are traditionally invited to the White House to meet the president, but many of President Trump’s actions and policies have rubbed Mystics players the wrong way, to the point where they might not want to attend.

In the story, Elena Delle Donne called Trump’s statement last week on banning transgender individuals from serving in the military “idiotic” and “very frightening.”

Natasha Cloud said she does not support any of Trump’s views on politics or human rights issues, and added that if the Mystics were to win the WNBA title, “we [presumably the Mystics] would not go to the White House.
Delle Donne agreed:

“I wouldn’t go,” Delle Donne said. “I’m pretty sure the whole team just isn’t in support of a lot of the values that the president right now seems to be standing for. So yeah, I don’t think many of us would make that trip.”

The Mystics are hardly an outlier, either. Earlier this month, the Seattle Storm held a Stand With Planned Parenthood night, which included a pregame rally. They also gave proceeds from ticket sales going to the non-profit. WNBA president Lisa Borders also weighed in on the hotly contested Georgia special House election, supporting Democrat Jon Ossoff, who ultimately lost to Republican Karen Handel.

It will be interesting to see if other WNBA contenders weigh in on a potential White House invitation in the offseason. After all, one team will ultimately have a decision to make.

 

Original Source: https://summitthoops.com/2017/07/31/theresa-plaisance-raised-on-game/

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