Despite Roster makeover, Mystics sunk by Turnovers
A year ago, the Washington Mystics lacked cohesion and championship grit. To remedy the problem, Washington Mystics General Manager and Coach Trudi Lacey spent the offseason overhauling a roster she thought was too young. Several veterans were brought in and just four players returned from last season.
In Saturday's season opener against the Chicago Sky, the revamped Mystics looked eerily similar to last year's team. In spite of a second half comeback, the Mystics couldn't score a basket or get a defensive stop when they needed it most, and lost 69-57.
Washington tallied 23 turnovers, 16 of them in the first half which led to a 15-point Chicago lead. The Sky turned those mistakes into 25 points. "Offensively, we made a lot of mistakes," Lacey said. "Simple things like pass and catch that I would expect players with experience and been in the league to make better decisions than we did early on."
With all the miscues, the Mystics still found themselves with a chance to win in the fourth quarter. Washington trailed by only three points entering the final quarter after a third period in which they outscored Chicago 17-7, to position itself for a comeback.
However, the run was brief, the Sky soon found its footing again and the Mystics went back to their mistake-prone ways. With a little more than seven minutes left in the game, Chicago went on a 13-4 run as the Mystics committed four turnovers in six possessions. The Sky finished the game shooting 51.9 percent from the floor.
"You shoot yourself in the foot, you're down by  again. That kind of broke our backs," said guard Natasha Lacy, who started the game in place of injured Matee Ajavon, who led the team in scoring last year.
The season got off to a great start for Washington, which led 6-0 in the first minute. But, from there it was an onslaught of miscues.
Coach Lacey was surprised when she looked at the first half statistics, considering all the acquired veterans who were brought in to improve the team. Rookie Natalie Novosel was the only player on team not to commit a turnover in the first half.
"I was not anticipating us coming out and putting forth this type of effort," said Lacey, who still remained upbeat about her new squad. "We will get better. We will have a good team and a winning team."