The new motto of the Washington Mystics might as well be “In Thibault We Trust.”
For while there’s no game-changing center or charismatic point guard headed to D.C. -- thank you, draft lottery -- the Mystics do believe they've finally found the correct leadership answer in new coach/general manager Mike Thibault, the winningest active coach in the WNBA.
Many might have been surprised when Emma Meesseman of Belgium was the first overseas player chosen in the WNBA draft (by the Washington Mystics), but the 6-4 post has already earned pleny of honors in Europe even though she won’t turn 20 until May 13.
NEW ORLEANS -- Lindsey Moore (Nebraska), Layshia Clarendon (California) and Kelly Faris (Connecticut) all helped their WNBA prospects with their NCAA Tournament runs. At least that was the opinion of Indiana head coach Lin Dunn as she and three of her peers – Tulsa’s head coach and general manager Gary Kloppenburg, New York’s head coach and GM Bill Laimbeer and Washington’s head coach and GM Mike Thibault – as they spoke to the media Thursday in the runup to Monday’s 2013 WNBA Draft.
The sun had barely set on the franchise’s worst year since its debut season in the league -- and Trudi Lacey’s second sub-.200 season in a row -- before the front office gave Lacey the boot.
That’s something they’ve had plenty of practice at: Washington has run through an even dozen head coaches in its 15 years as a WNBA franchise. The longest tenure was that of Richie Adubato, who spent three seasons at the helm on the rebound from his time with the New York Liberty, but the mean has been a little more than a year.
One of the first things I learned as a sportswriter was this: Never bet on sports, because improbability is guaranteed. For example, let’s take Sunday’s women’s basketball results …
We’ll start with Tennessee, which throughout the history of women’s college basketball, has been just about as sure a thing as possible – until this year. Doubters jumped all over the Volunteers after they opened the season with a loss to Chattanooga, so certainly No. 22 North Carolina would be a test.
Did the Phoenix Mercury just get lucky and hit the jackpot, or did they game the system by not going all out to win as many games as possible?
It doesn't matter which scenario fans choose to believe, really, as either way the Mercury were awarded the No. 1 pick in the 2013 WNBA draft during a live announcement on ESPN.
The Chicago Sky wound up with the second pick, Tulsa the third and the Washington Mystics, despite having the best chance of getting the top pick at 44.2 percent, wound up with not much of a consolation prize with the fourth choice.
With so much hype surrounding the 2013 WNBA Draft, ESPN announced it will televise the 2013 WNBA Draft Lottery for the first time. The result of the drawing of the dancing ping-pong balls will air live on ESPN’s 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter on Wednesday, Sept. 26.
So here’s the plan: Team USA wins Olympic gold, sparking some serious interest in women’s basketball. Then, when the WNBA gets back at it Aug. 16, new fans flock to a thrilling final five weeks of play as teams battle it out for a spot in postseason.