If there was some sort of award for heart and resilience and grit that award would go to the 2023 Washington Mystics. One of these days there maybe a Hollywood movie made about how the 2023 squad was able to endure the injuries, were able to endure the uncertainty and then be able to stand at the Barclays Center and go up against the New York Liberty in the 2023 WNBA Playoffs.
There aren’t that many teams that can stand tall after losing names such as Elena Delle Donne, Ariel Atkins, Shakira Austin and Kristi Toliver to injury, never mind being able to play in the Playoffs.
But the Washington Mystics did just that thanks to the play of Natasha Cloud, Brittney Sykes, and Tianna Hawkins to only name a few.
Not only that but they are getting to see the growth and development of players such as Queen Egbo, looking impressive after the midseason trade from Indiana and Li Meng, a huge part of the team from the first day and acclimating to a completely new culture and league.
In the two games against the New York Liberty the Mystics played very well, heck the ladies even held the lead at one point in time. Even more impressive is the way that the Mystics played defensively as it seemed as if there were arms clogging up the middle of the key and thus making the New York Liberty score from beyond the three-point arc.
Washington Mystics fans are encouraged to check out the following video as all the players along with Coach E and General Manager Mike Thibault share these thoughts from the team’s end of the year press conference….video is compliments of the Washington Mystics:
Then in Game Two the intensity from the team picked up to an even higher level, as the ladies fought back and tied things up in the Second Half of play and eventually forced an Overtime Frame.
In probably one of the more memorable performances in the history of the W, Mystics Guard Natasha Cloud brought her villain, and her dog scored a career-high 33 points, in addition to nine assists, six rebounds and four steals.
The performance, which is tailor made for any Hollywood production studio, set a single-game playoff record for points and thus inserting Clouds name as one of the best Guards in the WNBA.
In addition to her on court performance one of the things that captured the imagination of W fans everywhere is the bond that was built between her and newcomer Brittney Sykes, having herself one heck of a WNBA Season in the Washington D.C. Area.
One could just tell that they had a genuine bond and connection and even were able to connect on one of the most memorable moments of the 2023 Washington Mystics season when Cloud sent a pass to Sykes on September the 10th, as Slim was able to hit the game-winning shot for the team’s eventual 90-88 victory to end the regular season play.
There were so many feel good stories on the team, but now all of that hangs in the air as the franchise has four-that is right four free agents determine where their future is going to be in the W.
One such name determining her fate is Elena Delle Donne, as she has battled so much between her back injurie, to put into words appropriately the impact that Delle Donne has made in the Mystics overall as a franchise and in the Washington D.C., community is that of legendary status.
In addition, Cloud, Hawkins and Toliver are all unrestricted free agents and are going to take some time to process the team’s early exit from the WNBA Playoffs and determine where the future for all of them are going to be.
One of the things that has been stated by one Natasha Cloud is how coming from a place like Saint Joseph’s the Mystics were the team that gave her the chance to play in the W and stood by her and supported her as she has helped to elevate the sport of the WNBA and Women’s Sports in General to another level all together.
Speaking with a grace and eloquence about a ton of heavy issues, Cloud is a great ambassador to the squad and with her most recent history making performance it is going to be interesting to see what exactly happens to Natasha during the free agency period.
As for Tianna the forward has stepped up in leaps and bounds in providing some memorable moments with the squad. Hawkins finished up the regular season with 8.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.8 steals.
As for Toliver aka Panda there are so many attributes including that of leadership and memorable shots during her time with the Mystics, so all of these are going to be highly emotional moves as the franchise decides how to shape and mold the 2024 edition of the squad.
For now, though there are a ton of emotions for all of them to process after a tough second round exit, as the team says their goodbyes and either readies themselves for overseas play, or rehab, or what their next step during the offseason is going to be.
Either way though the 2023 Washington Mystics is going to go down as one of the more memorable teams in the WNBA, one that is fun to watch, showing a true heart, grit and passion for the game all season long.
For more information on the Washington Mystics fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: