The Washington Mystics recently celebrated their 25th Anniversary season. To conclude this milestone season, the team returned to the playoffs marking the eighth postseason appearance under Head Coach Mike Thibault. Since 2018, the Mystics have been one of only four teams in the league to have had three 20+ win seasons!
Our defense was impressive, as the team finished the season with a league-best defensive rating of 96.0. Elena Delle Donne, bolstered by our dedicated support/medical staff, showed the heart of a champion and her devotion to the game as she returned to the court. Ariel Atkins continued her consistency in excellence with her fifth consecutive WNBA All-Defensive team recognition. She was joined on the All-Defensive team by Natasha Cloud, whose passionate leadership was evident on both sides of the ball. In addition to being a presence on defense, Tash led the league with a career-best 7.0 assists per game. Our rookie Shakira Austin proved that there is no greater evaluator of talent than Mike Thibault. Shakira closed out the season by being named to the WNBA All-Rookie team and leaving everyone excited about her future.
This season, the WNBA has continued to build on the previous seasons’ successes. Numerous viewership records were set throughout the season as more fans are appreciating the talent playing every night. It’s why we backed Commissioner Engelbert’s long-term growth strategy and invested in the WNBA’s $75 million capital raise, which is the largest raise ever in women’s sports. The future of both the Washington Mystics and the WNBA is indeed bright.
Wizards District Gaming
Also wrapping up their season is the 2x NBA 2K League Champions Wizards District Gaming! 2022 saw a third return to the Finals in a 5v5 game format, one they’ve dominated in the past, and also an exciting addition of the 3v3 game format introduced by the League this year. Although the team fell short of a third straight championship, each player had one of their best statistical years on the game.
Off the game, Ryan “Dayfri” Conger, Anthonio “Newdini” Newman, Justin “Just Awkward” Howell, Brian “BRich” Richardson and Justin “Kapp” Kaplan have developed into quintessential 2K League representatives – encouraging more interest in the sport from fans and future gamers. Fans, media and league representatives voted for two of our players – Dayfri and Just Awkward to represent the Eastern Conference in the upcoming All-Star game, alongside WDG Head Coach Patrick Crossan who will lead the Eastern All-Star Roster, for the second season. So, mark your calendars for the NBA 2K League All-Star presented by Google Pixel will take place on Friday, September 30th at The Novo in Los Angeles.
The NHL & NBA Seasons Will Soon Begin
We are just days away from pre-season play which begins late this month with the Caps taking on the Sabres on Sept. 25th at Capital One Arena and the Wizards will participate in overseas exhibition play in Japan for two games against the Golden State Warriors on Sept. 30th and Oct. 2nd.
This season, I’m excited to watch Alex as he inches his way closer to the NHL’s all-time goals record. He starts the season 22 goals shy of passing the legendary Gordie Howe for second place all-time. But really, I’m excited for the team as a whole as the veterans, young players and new additions, including Stanley Cup champion goaltender Darcy Kuemper, come together for success on the ice. And that will also be true on the hardwood, where Brad is closing in on Elvin Hayes’ franchise record for most points scored. He has support from key veteran additions to the team and also from quickly developing young players who will add depth to the bench.
But most of all, I can’t wait to see all of our fans – the best in the world! – back at Capital One Arena cheering on our teams!