A Tale of Two Washingtons: Storm brewing; Should Mystics turn the Paige?

Photo Credit: Lamar Carter

There are two teams in the WNBA that represent respective Washingtons. So far this season, it has gone as expected for both the Seattle Storm and Washington Mystics. 

Let us start with the good in the Storm. After landing Skylar Diggins-Smith and Nneka Ogwumike in free agency to team them with Jewell Loyd and Ezi Magbegor, it was clear that general manager Talisa Rhea saw 2024 as a year where Seattle re-entered itself firmly into the championship chat. 

As of this writing, the Storm, led by its Core Four, stand at 7-4. The Storm recently picked up a signature victory where they prevailed over the Las Vegas Aces at Michelob Ultra Arena. 

We know what onlookers are thinking in the case of the Aces – that they will look firmly like the Aces again once Chelsea Gray is wearing Vegas’ silver and black uniforms once again. 

Last time we checked, Las Vegas still has A’ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum. Any team with those two All-Stars on it is still tough to beat, yet the Storm did just that. 

Loyd is following up the banner season she had last year by being named to the Olympic team for the upcoming Paris Games. 

Prior to the Storm’s most recent defeat which came at the hands of the Minnesota Lynx, Seattle was in the throes of a six-game winning streak. The victory the Storm notched over the Aces was what made it six in a row for the emerald and gold. 

The six-game win streak the Storm recently were in the throes of was a sign that coach Noelle Quinn’s team is indeed beginning to gel. And it appeared consecutive victory number seven was in the cards for Seattle. 

That was before the Lynx outscored the Storm by a margin of 47-23 in the second half. 

If the postseason were to start today, the Storm would be the fourth seed behind the Lynx at three, the New York Liberty at two and the Connecticut Sun at one. Seattle’s opponent in the first round would be the Atlanta Dream – a favorable series for the Storm on paper given the team’s experience in postseason moments compared to that of Atlanta’s.

That is how the season has gone for the team from Washington State. As for the team from Washington, D.C. the season has not been all cherry blossoms. 

The Mystics, especially when it was known that Elena Delle Donne would not play this season, were expected by many (including us) to be at or near the bottom of the WNBA’s standings. Not only have the Mystics been at the bottom of the WNBA standings, but Washington has yet to win a game. 

Eric Thibault’s team has been competitive in many a contest – including its most recent when the Mystics gave the Liberty (currently 11-2 to start this season) everything they could handle before New York ultimately pulled off a five-point, 93-88 victory. 

Prior to that matchup, the Mystics hosted the Indiana Fever at Capital One Arena in a matchup that reportedly drew over 20,000 fans to the venue. Washington was competitive from start to finish but a 30-point outburst from Caitlin Clark made the difference in a 85-83 result.

The Mystics also gave the Liberty a tough test on May 31 on the road before the Lib pulled away late to win 90-79. It was also the case back at the DC Entertainment and Sports Arena against Atlanta before the Dream earned a 73-67 win. 

May 23 – an 83-80 loss to the Mercury on the road. 

May 21 – a 70-68 road loss to the Los Angeles Sparks. 

May 19 – an 84-75 defeat to the Storm at home. 

May 17 – an 84-77 defeat to the Connecticut Sun on the road.

May 14 – an 85-80 loss at home to the Liberty to open the season. 

When one looks at Washington’s record from afar, it can be tempting to think the team should simply tank the rest of the season – especially with a well sought-after prospect like Paige Bueckers (UConn) at the top of the 2025 draft class. 

But when one looks at the results of Mystics games this season, one can easily see that Washington is a team that is better than their record suggests. Ariel Atkins, Myisha Hines-Allen, Shakira Austin and Aaliyah Edwards are among Washington’s featured players. 

That first win is coming soon. The Mystics’ next opportunity at that win will be on June 11 at the Dream. 

Now here is something Ted Leonsis may need to answer for…

Leonsis reportedly capped tickets at 10,000 for the Mystics’ matchup vs. the Chicago Sky (whose team includes Baltimore native Angel Reese) at Capital One Arena. Not to mention it has been suggested that security was tighter and stricter for that contest than for the Fever game that drew over 20,000. Plus, it has been Clark superfans who have been hurling questionable racial slurs at players – not Reese fans. 

While things are promising for the Mystics on the court despite the team’s atrocious record, one wonders if the same can be said for the team’s front office. 

Washington will get in the win column sometime this season – likely prior to the All-Star and Olympic break. But as for now, one cannot help but see the underlying story. 

The team that an all-woman ownership group is doing better than the team whose primary owner is a man. What a metaphor for society. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *