|Team colors||Blue, red, silver
|General manager||Mike Thibault|
|Head coach||Mike Thibault|
The Washington Mystics are a professional basketball team based in Washington, D.C., playing in the Eastern Conference in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). The team was founded prior to the 1998 season. The team is owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment (led by Ted Leonsis), who also owns the Mystics' NBA counterpart, the Washington Wizards. Sheila C. Johnson, co-founder of BET and ex-wife of Charlotte Sting owner Robert L. Johnson, is the managing partner.
While the Mystics have qualified for the WNBA Playoffs in only nine of its nineteen years in Washington, the franchise has been home to some high-quality players such as Tennessee standout Chamique Holdsclaw, athletic shooting guard Alana Beard, and nearby Maryland product Crystal Langhorne. The Mystics are the only current WNBA franchise that has not made it to the WNBA Finals. They have been to the Conference Finals once, losing to New York in 2002.
- 1 Franchise history
- 2 Attendance leaders
- 3 Season-by-season records
- 4 Players
- 5 Coaches and staff
- 6 Statistics
- 7 Media coverage
- 8 All-time notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
One of the first, one of the worst (1998–2004)
The Washington Mystics were one of the first WNBA expansion franchises to be established. In 1998, their first season, they finished with a WNBA worst 3-27 record, despite being led by Olympian Nikki McCray. Although they did not make the playoffs that year, the team had high expectations after drafting University of Tennessee star Chamique Holdsclaw in 1999. Washington improved, but again failed to make the playoffs as they finished with a 12-20 record. Holdsclaw would lead the team to the playoffs in 2000, making the playoffs with a record of 14-18, losing to the New York Liberty in a first round sweep.
After being tied for the worst record in the WNBA in 2001 with a 10-22 record, coach Tom Maher and General Manager Melissa McFerrin both resigned. With the future of the franchise up in the air, Mystics assistant coach Marianne Stanley took over as head coach. With the duo of Holdsclaw and rookie guard Stacey Dales-Schuman, the Mystics made the playoffs in 2002 with a 17-15 record. They would sweep the Charlotte Sting in the first round, but lose to New York again in the Eastern Conference Finals 2 games to 1. In 2003, the Mystics would make a franchise second worst record in franchise history with a 9-25 record, last in the Eastern Conference.
Rumors of Holdsclaw being unhappy playing in Washington came to a head in 2004 when the Mystics star was sidelined with an unspecified ailment, later revealed to be a bout with depression. With their all-star out, rookie and Duke University standout Alana Beard led a depleted Mystics team to a surprising playoff appearance, the third in Mystics history. They finished the 2004 season at 17-17, but lost in the first round to the Connecticut Sun in 3 games.
Changes in the organization (2005–2007)
The 2005 season saw deep changes in the Mystics organization. Former star Holdsclaw joined the Los Angeles Sparks and the team was sold by Washington Sports and Entertainment to Lincoln Holdings LLC, led by Ted Leonsis. In 2005, the team finished the regular season with a record of 16-18 and failed to make the playoffs.
In 2006, the Mystics posted an 18-16 record thriving under star guard Alana Beard who was drafted in 2004. The Mystics entered the playoffs as the 4th seed. In the first round, Washington was ultimately swept by the Connecticut Sun, the first-seeded team in the East.
The Mystics finished with a 16-18 record in 2007. In a more competitive conference, the team was satisfied by its near-.500 finish. However, at the end of the season, the Mystics had an identical record as the New York Liberty. Since the Liberty won the regular season series against the Mystics, Washington lost the tiebreaker and was eliminated from playoff contention.
In 2008, the Mystics looked to build on their near-playoff appearance in a tough Eastern conference. They drafted Crystal Langhorne of Maryland with the 6th pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft. Plagues again by coaches problems, the Mystics fell to the bottom of the East again, finishing only in front of the expansion Atlanta team. The Mystics had gone through 10 coaches in 11 years of existence, the most in the WNBA. The Mystics front office knew it needed to completely clean out the entire coaching and management staff.
Changes, part two (2009–2012)
During the 2008/2009 WNBA off-season, the Mystics released general manager Linda Hargrove (replaced by Angela Taylor) and interim coach Jessie Kenlaw (replaced by Julie Plank). Under the new general manager, underperforming players were waived as new players were signed. With the second pick in the Houston dispersal draft and the 2009 WNBA Draft, the Mystics selected Matee Ajavon and Marissa Coleman, respectively. The Mystics hoped to take advantage of the team changes and finally find consistency in their play.
By the time the season began, the Mystics surprisingly started 3-0. They went 13-18 since the first three games, but their 16-18 record was good enough to reach the playoffs. However, in their playoff comeback, the eventual conference champion Indiana Fever were too much for Washington to handle and the Mystics were swept in the first round.
The Mystics had their best season ever in 2010. Led by Lindsey Harding, Katie Smith, and Crystal Langhorne, the Mystics took first place in the East with a record of 22-12. However, despite holding a 3-1 edge in regular season games, they were swept in the first round, including a 24-point blowout in the elimination game, by the eventual WNBA Finals runner-up, the Atlanta Dream.
Prior to the 2011 season, the Mystics made many controversial changes. Coming off their best season in franchise history, many had hoped the team would finally see some consistency; this was not the case. General manager Angela Taylor could not reach an agreement on a new contract and after head coach Julie Plank refused a request to handle both coach and GM duties which was reported as a cost cutting measure, Mystics assistant coach Trudi Lacey was named to both positions. When asked if the departure of Plank and Taylor was one of the mistakes she said she had learned from at the 2012 WNBA draft lottery, Mystics owner Sheila Johnson said she couldn't discuss that matter, citing ongoing "human resource issues". After the coach/GM change Harding and Smith both demanded trades to specific teams which were granted (to Atlanta and Seattle, respectively). In addition, starting small forward Monique Currie tore her ACL while playing in Europe in January and was lost for most of the WNBA season. As a result of this off-season turmoil, the Mystics record in 2011 fell to 6-28 from 22-12 the year before.
After an even worse season in 2012 (5-29), Trudi Lacey was fired as the Mystics coach and GM. Although having the best odds of the four teams involved in the lottery held on September 26, 2012 for the 2013 WNBA draft, the Mystics ended up with the 4th pick, missing out on drafting one of the three highly touted players available in the 2013 WNBA Draft; which was Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins.
Rebuilding, a bright future (2013–2016)
Despite missing out on a top 3 draft pick, the Mystics remained positive and continued their rebuilding phase while adding some young talent with future potential to their roster. Prior to the 2013 WNBA season, the Mystics drafted Tayler Hill and Emma Meesseman in the 2013 WNBA Draft. After the firing of Trudi Lacey, the Mystics hired Mike Thibault as their new head coach and GM.
In the 2013 WNBA season, the Mystics were 17-17 and made the playoffs losing in the first round.
Prior to the 2014 WNBA season, the Mystics drafted Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson in the 2014 WNBA Draft. In the 2014 WNBA season, Meesseman became the starting center for the Mystics. They finished 16-18 and made the playoffs but lost in the first round yet again.
In the 2015 WNBA season the Mystics made a change in their starting line-up by putting Dolson at center and Meesseman at power forward. The Big-women duo would have breakout seasons as they both were selected into the 2015 WNBA All-Star Game. Later on in the season, the Mystics finished 18-16 and made the playoffs, but were once again a first round exit.
Going into the 2016 WNBA season, the Mystics kept acquiring and developing young talent. They drafted Kahleah Copper in the 2016 WNBA Draft and put Hill in the starting line-up. Hill would have a breakout season, leading the Mystics in scoring with a career-high 15.4 ppg and was second place in voting for the WNBA Most Improved Player award. The Mystics would unfortunately not make the playoffs, finishing with a disappointing 13-21 record but showed signs of promise in the future. Meesseman continued to improve after her breakout season, averaging a career-high 15.2 ppg. Also on September 7, 2016, the Mystics scored a franchise record of 118 points along with 16 three pointers (another franchise record) in a 118-81 victory over the Chicago Sky.
The Delle Donne Era (2017–present)
During the 2016–17 off-season, the Mystics were busy in the trade market. With enough trade assets, they were determined to make a trade for a superstar player. First, on January 30, the team executed a three-way deal with the New York Liberty and Seattle Storm, sending Bria Hartley and Kia Vaughn to the Liberty and receiving the Storm's #6 pick in the 2017 draft. This proved the prelude to an even larger deal as it freed up cap space to land a superstar on their team. Officially announced on February 2, the Mystics traded Kahleah Copper, Stefanie Dolson and the second overall pick in the 2017 WNBA draft to the Chicago Sky in exchange for 2015 league MVP Elena Delle Donne. Also during the off-season in free agency they would sign three-point specialist Kristi Toliver (who had just won a championship with the Los Angeles Sparks in the previous season), upgrading their roster into a championship contender.
- 1998–2010: white with black and gold outlines at home, dark blue with black and gold outlines on the road.
- 2011–2012: white with red and blue outlines at home, red with white and blue outlines on the road. Both jerseys display the Inova Health System name on the front.
- 2013–2014: A new number font was introduced; Inova retained as jersey sponsor.
- 2015–present: Inova sponsorship expires, and the team name (home jerseys) and city name (road jerseys) return.
- 2016: As part of a league-wide initiative for its 20th season, all games featured all-color uniform matchups. The Mystics retired the white uniform for this season in favor of a red jersey, while retaining the blue jersey as its dark-colored uniform.
The Washington Mystics led the WNBA in home attendance in the years 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2009. To celebrate the fans turning out for games, six banners were hung from the Verizon Center rafters celebrating each year the Mystics were "Attendance Champions." The banners were mocked for years  before Ted Leonsis, CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, announced in a 2010 blog that the banners would be taken down, reasoning that the "only banners we should display revolve around winning a division or conference or league championship."
|Season||Team||Conference||Regular season||Playoff Results||Head coach|
|1998||1998||East||5th||3||27||.100||Did not qualify||J. Lewis (2–16)
C. Parson (1–11)
|1999||1999||East||5th||12||20||.375||Did not qualify||Nancy Darsch|
|2000||2000||East||4th||14||18||.438||Lost Conference Semifinals (New York, 0–2)||N. Darsch (9–11)
D. Walker (5–7)
|2001||2001||East||8th||10||22||.313||Did not qualify||Tom Maher|
|2002||2002||East||3rd||17||15||.531||Won Conference Semifinals (Charlotte, 2–0)
Lost Conference Finals (New York, 1–2)
|2003||2003||East||7th||9||25||.265||Did not qualify||Marianne Stanley|
|2004||2004||East||4th||17||17||.500||Lost Conference Semifinals (Connecticut, 1–2)||Michael Adams|
|2005||2005||East||5th||16||18||.471||Did not qualify||Richie Adubato|
|2006||2006||East||4th||18||16||.529||Lost Conference Semifinals (Connecticut, 0–2)||Richie Adubato|
|2007||2007||East||5th||16||18||.471||Did not qualify||R. Adubato (0–4)
T. Rollins (16–14)
|2008||2008||East||6th||10||24||.294||Did not qualify||T. Rollins (8–14)
J. Kenlaw (2–10)
|2009||2009||East||4th||16||18||.471||Lost Conference Semifinals (Indiana, 0–2)||Julie Plank|
|2010||2010||East||1st||22||12||.647||Lost Conference Semifinals (Atlanta, 0–2)||Julie Plank|
|2011||2011||East||6th||6||28||.176||Did not qualify||Trudi Lacey|
|2012||2012||East||6th||5||29||.147||Did not qualify||Trudi Lacey|
|2013||2013||East||3rd||17||17||.500||Lost Conference Semifinals (Atlanta, 1–2)||Mike Thibault|
|2014||2014||East||3rd||16||18||.471||Lost Conference Semifinals (Indiana, 0–2)||Mike Thibault|
|2015||2015||East||4th||18||16||.529||Lost Conference Semifinals (New York, 1–2)||Mike Thibault|
|2016||2016||East||6th||13||21||.382||Did not qualify||Mike Thibault|
|Regular season||255||379||.402||0 Conference Championships|
|Playoffs||6||18||.250||0 WNBA Championships|
Washington Mystics roster
Other rights owned
|Nationality||Name||Years pro||Last played||Drafted|
- Nicky Anosike (2011)
- Alana Beard (2004–2011), now a member of the Los Angeles Sparks
- Kiesha Brown (2002–2005)
- Vicky Bullett (2000–2002)
- Marissa Coleman (2009–2011), now a member of the Indiana Fever
- Kahleah Copper (2016), now a member of the Chicago Sky
- Monique Currie (2007–2014), now a member of the San Antonio Stars
- Stacey Dales (2002–2004)
- Stefanie Dolson (2014–2016), now a member of the Chicago Sky
- Lindsey Harding (2009–2010)
- Bria Hartley (2014–2016), now a member of the New York Liberty
- Chamique Holdsclaw (1999–2004)
- Asjha Jones (2002–2003)
- Crystal Langhorne (2008-2013), now a member of the Seattle Storm
- Kara Lawson (2014–2015)
- Nikki McCray (1998–2001)
- Taj McWilliams-Franklin (2008), now an assistant coach for the Dallas Wings
- Chasity Melvin (2004–2007, 2009–2010)
- Coco Miller (2001–2008)
- DeLisha Milton-Jones (2005–2007)
- Murriel Page (1998–2005)
- Nakia Sanford (2003–2010)
- Katie Smith (2010), now an assistant coach for the New York Liberty
- Nikki Teasley (2006–2007)
- Kia Vaughn (2013–2016), now a member of the New York Liberty
Coaches and staff
- Abe Pollin, owner of the Washington Wizards (1998–2005)
- Monumental Sports & Entertainment/Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Wizards (2005–present)
|Washington Mystics head coaches|
|Jim Lewis||December 29, 1997||July 24, 1998||1||2||16||.111||18||0||0||–||0|
|Cathy Parson||July 24, 1998||end of 1998||1||1||11||.083||12||0||0||–||0|
|Nancy Darsch||February 18, 1999||July 14, 2000||2||21||32||.396||53||0||0||–||0|
|Darrell Walker||July 14, 2000||end of 2000||1||5||7||.417||12||0||2||.000||2|
|Tom Maher||December 21, 2000||January 4, 2002||1||10||22||.313||32||0||0||–||0|
|Marianne Stanley||April 5, 2002||January 21, 2004||2||26||40||.394||66||3||2||.600||5|
|Michael Adams||February 17, 2004||April 15, 2005||1||17||17||.500||34||1||2||.333||3|
|Richie Adubato||April 21, 2005||June 1, 2007||3||34||38||.472||72||0||2||.000||2|
|Tree Rollins||June 1, 2007||July 19, 2008||2||24||28||.462||52||0||0||–||0|
|Jessie Kenlaw||July 19, 2008||end of 2008||1||2||10||.167||12||0||0||–||0|
|Julie Plank||November 6, 2008||November 1, 2010||2||38||30||.559||68||0||4||.000||4|
|Trudi Lacey||November 1, 2010||September 24, 2012||2||11||57||.162||68||0||0||–||0|
|Mike Thibault||December 18, 2012||Current||4||64||72||.471||136||2||6||.250||8|
- Melissa McFerrin (1998–2001)
- Judy Holland-Burton (2002–2004)
- Linda Hargrove (2005–2008)
- Angela Taylor (2009–2010)
- Trudi Lacey (2011–2012)
- Mike Thibault (2013–present)
- Cathy Parson (1998)
- Wes Unseld, Jr. (1998)
- Melissa McFerrin (1999–2001)
- Jenny Boucek (1999)
- Tyrone Beaman (2000)
- Marianne Stanley (2001, 2010–present)
- Linda Hill-MacDonald (2002–2003)
- Ledell Eackels (2002–2003)
- Linda Hargrove (2004)
- Stephanie Ready (2004)
- Marynell Meadors (2005–2006)
- Jeff House (2005–2006)
- Tree Rollins (2006-2007)
- Crystal Robinson (2007–2008)
- Jessie Kenlaw (2007–2008)
- Lubomyr Lichonczak (2009)
- Vanessa Nygaard (2009)
- Vicky Bullett (2009)
- Trudi Lacey (2009-2010)
- Laurie Byrd (2011–2012)
- Jennifer Gillom (2012)
- Eric Thibault (2013–present)
|Washington Mystics statistics|
Currently, some Mystics games are broadcast on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic (CSN-MA), a local television station for Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland. Usually, NBA TV will pick up the feed from the local broadcast, which is shown nationally. Broadcasters for Mystics games are Frank Hanrahan and Christy Winters Scott.
All games (excluding blackout games, which are available on ESPN3.com) are broadcast to the WNBA LiveAccess game feeds on the league website. Furthermore, some Mystics games are broadcast nationally on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. The WNBA has reached an eight-year agreement with ESPN, which will pay right fees to the Mystics, as well as other teams in the league.
Regular season attendance
- A sellout for a basketball game at Verizon Center is 20,356.
|Regular season all-time attendance|
|Year||Average||High||Low||Sellouts||Total for year||WNBA game average|
- 1998 Expansion Draft: Heidi Burge (2), Penny Moore (4), Deborah Carter (6), Tammy Jackson (8)
- 1998: Murriel Page (3), Rita Williams (13), Angela Hamblin (23), Angela Jackson (33)
- 1999: Chamique Holdsclaw (1), Shalonda Enis (13), Andrea Nagy (25), Jennifer Whittle (37)
- 2000: Tausha Mills (2), Tonya Washington (18)
- 2001: Coco Miller (9), Tamara Stocks (25), Jamie Lewis (41), Elena Karpova (44)
- 2002: Stacey Dales-Schuman (3), Asjha Jones (4), LaNisha Cartwell (33), Teresa Geter (36)
- 2003 Miami/Portland Dispersal Draft: Jenny Mowe (8)
- 2003: Aiysha Smith (7), Zuzana Zirkova (21), Trish Juline (32), Tamara Bowie (36)
- 2004 Cleveland Dispersal Draft: Chasity Melvin (2)
- 2004: Alana Beard (2), Kaayla Chones (15), Evan Unrau (28)
- 2005: Temeka Johnson (6), Erica Taylor (19), Tashia Moorehead (32)
- 2006: Tamara James (8), Nikki Blue (19), Myriam Sy (33)
- 2007 Charlotte Expansion Draft: Teana Miller (6)
- 2007: Bernice Mosby (6), Megan Vogel (19), Gillian Goring (33)
- 2008: Crystal Langhorne (6), Lindsey Pluimer (19), Krystal Vaughn (33)
- 2009 Houston Dispersal Draft: Matee Ajavon (2)
- 2009: Marissa Coleman (2), Camille Lenoir (23), Jelena Milavanovic (24), Josephine Owino (28)
- 2010 Sacramento Dispersal Draft: Kristin Haynie (6)
- 2010: Jacinta Monroe (6), Jenna Smith (14), Shanavia Dowdell (18), Alexis Gray-Lawson (30)
- 2011: Victoria Dunlap (11), Karima Christmas (23), Sarah Krnjic (35)
- 2012: Natalie Novosel (8), LaSondra Barrett (10), Anjale Barrett (26), Briana Gilbreath (35)
- 2013: Tayler Hill (4), Nadirah McKenith (17), Emma Meesseman (19)
- 2014: Stefanie Dolson (6), Carley Mijovic (30), Kody Burke (32)
- 2015: Ally Malott (8), Natasha Cloud (15), Marica Gajić (32)
- 2016: Kahleah Copper (7), Lia Galdeira (19), Danaejah Grant (31)
- 1999: Chamique Holdsclaw, Nikki McCray
- 2000: Chamique Holdsclaw, Nikki McCray
- 2001: Chamique Holdsclaw, Nikki McCray
- 2002: Stacey Dales-Schuman, Chamique Holdsclaw
- 2003: Chamique Holdsclaw
- 2004: None
- 2005: Alana Beard
- 2006: Alana Beard
- 2007: Alana Beard, Delisha Milton-Jones
- 2008: No All-Star Game
- 2009: Alana Beard
- 2010: Monique Currie, Lindsey Harding, Crystal Langhorne
- 2011: Crystal Langhorne
- 2012: No All-Star Game
- 2013: Crystal Langhorne, Ivory Latta
- 2014: Ivory Latta
- 2015: Stefanie Dolson, Emma Meesseman
- 2016: No All-Star Game
Honors and awards
- 1999 Rookie of the Year: Chamique Holdsclaw
- 1999 All-WNBA Second Team: Chamique Holdsclaw
- 1999 Peak Performer (FG%): Murriel Page
- 2000 Peak Performer (FG%): Murriel Page
- 2001 All-WNBA Second Team: Chamique Holdsclaw
- 2002 Coach of the Year: Marianne Stanley
- 2002 Most Improved Player: Coco Miller
- 2002 All-WNBA Second Team: Chamique Holdsclaw
- 2002 Peak Performer (Scoring): Chamique Holdsclaw
- 2002 Peak Performer (Rebounds): Chamique Holdsclaw
- 2003 Peak Performer (Rebounds): Chamique Holdsclaw
- 2005 Rookie of the Year: Temeka Johnson
- 2005 All-Defensive Second Team: Alana Beard
- 2005 All-Rookie Team: Temeka Johnson
- 2006 All-WNBA Second Team: Alana Beard
- 2006 All-Defensive Second Team: Alana Beard
- 2007 All-Defensive First Team: Alana Beard
- 2009 Most Improved Player: Crystal Langhorne
- 2009 All-Defensive Second Team: Alana Beard
- 2009 All-Rookie Team: Marissa Coleman
- 2010 All-WNBA Second Team: Crystal Langhorne
- 2010 All-Defensive Second Team: Lindsey Harding
- 2013 Coach of the Year: Mike Thibault
- 2014 All-Rookie Team: Bria Hartley
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- Voepel, Mechelle (January 31, 2017). "How good can the Mystics be with Elena Delle Donne?". ESPNW. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
- "Chicago trades Elena Delle Donne for No. 2 overall pick, 2 players". ESPN.com. February 2, 2017. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
- Mystics sign all-star Kristi Toliver as part of plan to build a Warriors-like superteam
- "MYSTICS: Mystics Introduce New GM/Head Coach Trudi Lacey and Unveil New Team Logo". Wnba.com. 2010-12-02. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
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