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Washington Mystics History

The Washington Mystics have made many improvements season after season to get to where they are today.

Known as on of the worst starts in the WNBA, the Mystics can shed that horrible stigma and continue to improve. The Mystics are no longer the team they once were, but history has a way of shaping the future, whether for the better or worse.


The Beginning


The Washington Mystics became part of the WNBA in 1998, which was the second season of the WNBA. Still considered to be one of the first expansion franchises, the Mystics have had mixed success throughout the seasons.

During the 1998 season, the Mystics posted the worst record in WNBA history going 3-27 throughout the season. Olympian Nikki McCray was the highlight of this team, as she attempted to turn the season around with her effort and hard play. Needless to say, they didn’t make the playoffs that season, but the following season saw hope.

The Mystics drafted University of Tennessee star, Chamique Holdsclaw, and thought she would be able to help the franchise turn the team around.

She did help improve the overall record for the 1999 season as they went 12-20. Holdsclaw was able to lead the team to the playoffs in 2000, even after posting a losing record of 14-18. They lost to the New York Liberty in the first round.


Franchise Changes


Starting in 2005, the Mystics saw major changes across the board. Holdsclaw became unhappy and clinically depressed towards the end of the 2004 season, and eventually requested a change of scenery. She signed with the Los Angeles Sparks and continued to play in California.

Also during this season, the team changed ownership from Washington Sports and Entertainment to Lincoln Holdings LLC. Ted Leonsis was in charge of Lincoln Holdings LLC as he acquired the Mystics. The team ended up finishing the season with a record of 16-18 and didn’t make the playoffs. The 2006 season saw the Mystics entering the playoffs as the No. 4 seed, where they lost in the first round to the Connecticut Sun.


What’s Next?


The Mystic team has never had consistent coaching and leadership and that can be faulted as the main reason for their lack of success. During the 2008-09 season, the Mystics released General Manager Linda Hargrove and replaced her with Angela Taylor. Interim Coach Jessie Kenlaw was also let go and replaced by Julie Plank. With the change of leadership also came the change of how the team would be run.
Under the new coaching and management staff, underperforming players were waived and not signed again in lieu of new players. In the 2009 WNBA Draft and Houston Dispersal Draft, the Mystics had the second pick and chose Matee Ajavon and Marissa Coleman.

With these new additions to the team, the franchise is hoping to finally get some consistency across the board and reach their full potential. In the past season, the team started 3-0 but finished 13-18, with a playoff appearance.

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