During Michelle Snow's previous nine WNBA seasons, which followed a highly successful run at the University of Tennessee and winning a state championship in high school, she never experienced a losing campaign.Before entering the pro ranks this year as a rookie, Natalie Novosel was one of the headliners for a Notre Dame program that finished the 2011-12 season as National runner-ups.Just two seasons ago, second-leading scorer Monique Currie helped guide the Washington Mystics to the Eastern Conference title and a second straight playoff appearance.Those were the days - and nothing like what trio and the rest of the Mystics have endured in 2012. Well, except for Currie and the handful of others who have now suffered through a second straight trying season. With two games remaining, including the home finale Friday night against Indiana, Washington (5-27) needs to a win to match last season's total of six. Should they lose both, the Mystics will finish the season with a 13-game losing streak, and the second worst record in franchise history."It's hard to believe that just two seasons ago we won the Eastern Conference regular season," said Currie, who returned to a full-time role this season after missing nearly all of 2011 with a knee injury. Once again the DC area native is the team's second-leading scorer (11.8), but in a completely different and bummer of a scenario."This season especially has been one of the most difficult for myself. You have to take the highs with the lows. Nothing comes easily. It's a learning experience - just something I'd rather not experience again."For Snow, a 10-year veteran who signed with the Mystics as a free agent this past offseason, the barrage of defeats has been all about "life lessons.""First losing season, you see things from a totally different perspective," said the 6-foot-5 center. "You realize how hard it is to overcome some of the mental battles. You find yourself constantly trying to keep your confidence and keep your head in the right place so you can be productive and contribute to your team...It's depressing; it's hard to deal with."Crystal Langhorne, the Mystics leader in scoring, rebounding, and field goal percentage will miss the final two games with a left foot strain after sitting out Sunday's loss to New York. Washington closes out the regular season Saturday at Chicago.Washington is the only WNBA team averaging fewer than 70 points per game (69.3), ranking near the bottom in field goal and 3-point shooting. Since the returning from the Olympic break in mid-August, the Mystics have won just one game in 13 attempts with many of the losses coming in double figure fashion, twice by the Fever. The team's last victory came more than a month ago - August 19 at the Verizon Center against Chicago."I think that's been one of the toughest adjustments, the losing," said Novosel, who lost all of four games during her senior season at Notre Dame. "Getting into my mind that this isn't how the WNBA is, we're not supposed to have losing season and not to get used to that."The losing hasn't stopped, but the recent effort has improved; in its previous game, Washington led by nine points in the fourth quarter on Sunday before falling 75-68 to New York. "The greatest lesson you can have is to hold your integrity around what you're doing, always keep a positive attitude, continue to improve, continue to work," Mystics coach and general manager Trudi Lacey said. "That's exactly what we've done."While the Liberty remain in the postseason hunt, the Mystics lost that Dream for good during the current skid."It's been a difficult road all season, that's obvious," Currie said. "What hasn't changed for us is we continue to work hard although we continue to work hard, though we're kind of just playing just to finish the season because we don't have any postseason chances."Chances against the Fever (20-12), losers of three straight, perhaps hinge on whether the Mystics can conjure up memories of their 67-66 win over Indiana back on June 15. Beats thinking about the past 11 games.
There are no big surprises on the Redskins’ inactive list Monday before the Eagles matchup:
- CB Josh Norman
- OL Tyler Catalina
- OL Ty Nsekhe
- DL A.J. Francis
- TE Jeremy Sprinkle
- OLB Josh Harvey-Clemons
- S Deshazor Everett
Cornerback Bashaud Breeland, who suffered a knee injury last Sunday against the 49ers, is active. With Norman out, that is very good news for the Redskins’ chances.
Norman was declared out on the final injury report. He reportedly wanted to play with a broken rib that he sustained on October 3 against the Chiefs. But the medical staff would not clear him to play and Norman will miss his second consecutive game. Quinton Dunbar will start in his place.
Reserve offensive linemen Catalina (concussion) and Nsekhe (core muscle) also were declared out on Saturday.
Starting RB Rob Kelley returns after missing the 49ers game with an ankle injury.
Wizards star John Wall spent his offseason using the cryptic hashtag #wolfseason on workout photos posted to Instagram, leaving his fans and the media to fill in the blanks. Then, after helping the Wizards beat the Sixers on opening night last week, he proclaimed that it's 'Wolf Season' and only added "just keep watching" when asked for an explanation.
Well, now we have that explanation from the man himself and it has a connection to Michael Jackson. Wall appeared on the Wizards Tipoff podcast over the weekend and told the backstory. The name was created by his childhood friend and security guard Dave 'Flave' Best.
"I'm in Wolf Mode. I'm on the attack," Wall said.
The whole idea revolves around his main purpose for ramping up his offseason workouts this summer. He wanted to get into better shape with the end of playoff games in mind.
"The beginning of games, that I'm great with. Sometimes coach might play me a full 24 or a full 12 minutes, whatever me might do. I've gotta prepare myself and I think that's what I trained this summer for, to do that," he said.
Wall, 27, went through the preseason and has now played two regular season games. The early returns, he said, are noticeable.
"I feel great, just being in better shape and being able to commit myself on both ends of the floor," he said. "I'm just trying to make it tough on defenders and making big stops."
Defense is a big part of it and it's clear Wall is focusing heavily on that area of his game. He couldn't help but bring up one specific play in the Wizards' second game against the Pistons where he wasn't happy with his performance.
"I think I played great defensively yesterday other than that one big three I gave up to Avery [Bradley] when we was up 113-108," he said.
So, how does this relate to the 'King of Pop?' Wall says part of Wolf Season is 'Thrilla Mode,' an ode to when Jackson turned into a wolf in the music video for the classic 'Thriller.'
"When I used the later picture, that was what it was for, to turn into a wolf," Wall said, referencing an Instagram post from September.
"That's Wolf Season, just locked in," he said.
Between 'Death Row D.C.' and Wolf Season/Thrilla Mode, Wall and the Wizards have good taste in the music they draw inspiration from.
Listen to Wall's full 1-on-1 interview on the Wizards Tipoff podcast:
And for more on Wolf Season, check out Chris Miller's video on what it means for the rest of the NBA: