Ridin’ The Pine: Columnist says it’s easy to get a good basketball fix locally in September
Washington Mystics guard Ivory Latta is one of the most entertaining players in the WNBA. --Courtesy Photo
I felt tempted to begin this column by saying, "Hey, guy, listen, you and your four buddies couldn’t beat a WNBA team even if it meant fending off the apocalypse."
That's a simple fact that Average Joe just won’t accept, no matter how irrational. A lot of people wrongly believe that WNBA basketball is on par with their local pickup game and thus unworthy of watching.
Not me. Of all the sports I watched this past weekend the Washington Mystics vs. New York Liberty basketball game was the best.
For the record, I watched in person as the Kettle Run High football team dismantled Millbrook. Then I watched on TV as the Texas A&M football team enthusiastically scrambled to a 14-0 lead before Alabama dropped the hammer.
I also happily watched on TV as the Green Bay Packers (my preferred team) embarrassed the Washington Redskins, and as Floyd Mayweather Jr. beat Canelo Alvarez.
All of the above entertained me, but none more than the Mystics-Liberty game. It was fun to be in the Verizon Center on Sunday for Washington’s 70-52 win.
Mystics rookie Tayler Hill had a breakout game with a career-high 16 points. Fourteen-year veteran Katie Smith played her last game for New York, exiting with a classy Washington crowd chanting her name. And Mystics bundle-of-energy Ivory Latta polished off a Player of the Week performance.
Latta’s 5-foot-6 frame is no match for her giant personality, so it always comes spilling out. And unlike in the majority of professional sports leagues, WNBA players aren’t shielded from fans.
After the game Sunday, fans lined up on the court and drew names of Mystics players out of a container. Each player ended up posing with a fan for a picture and promising to later give the jersey off her back.
Latta added some showmanship. She galloped over to her fan, feinting that she’d take off her jersey right there on the court. Then she rolled through a series of eccentric poses for the pictures with her fan, drawing laughter from the crowd.
It’s just a shame that little more than 1,000 people attended that game. But you’ll have another chance next weekend because the Mystics clinched the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Washington will host the Atlanta Dream in Game Two on Saturday.
So you’ll get to see Dream dynamo Angel McCoughtry. Better yet, if the Mystics beat Atlanta, they’ll likely advance to play the Chicago Sky, which will bring to town three of the most skilled players you’ll ever see: Elena Delle Donne (pure scorer), Courtney Vandersloot (pure passer) and Sylvia Fowles (pure post dominance).
I love watching that trio play more than any NBA team. Why? It’s good basketball.
But maybe my sports tastes also have a hipster bent, like my rap music preferences.
I listen to Dessa, Phonte, Grieves, Krizz Kaliko. Why? It’s good music, even if it’s not popular.
I won’t begrudge anybody for listening to pop artists like Lil Wayne, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and 2 Chainz, or watching pop athletes like Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.
But just because you prefer Lil’ Wayne and LeBron James, doesn’t mean you can out-rap Dessa or out-ball Delle Donne.
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