Mystics

Mystics sign WNBA Most Improved Player Leilani Mitchell

Mystics sign WNBA Most Improved Player Leilani Mitchell

After losing Kristi Toliver in free agency this offseason, the Washington Mystics have filled in some of their guard depth by signing Leilani Mitchell.

The team announced the signing via a release on Thursday. 

Mitchell is coming off a career year that resulted in the 11-year veteran winning the 2019 WNBA's Most Improved Player Award. Her scoring (12.8), rebound (3.0) and assist (4.0) averages were all career-highs as a starter with the Phoenix Mercury. 

“Leilani will be a terrific addition and perfect fit to our team. We loved having her when she was here before and everyone in the organization is thrilled to have her back,” head coach and general manager Mike Thibault said in a release. “Her leadership, ball handling, passing, and 3-point shooting will fit seamlessly with our style of play. On top of all that, she is one of the best teammates you could ask for.”

This will be Mitchell's second stint with the team as she played 10 games in Washington in 2016. Back then the Mystics were an entirely different team. She left the organization the year before Elena Delle Donne was traded to the Mystics. 

Inserting Mitchell will be a natural fit to at least replace some of Toliver's previous role with the team. At 35, Mitchell is still a quick guard that has posted strong shooting numbers her entire career. Last year she shot 43% from deep, the second-highest mark of her tenure in the WNBA. She has the ability to not only set up her teammates but hit shots herself. 

Washington now has 11 of its 12 roster spots filled for the 2020 season with 2019 WNBA Finals MVP Emma Meesseman still un-signed. 

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WNBA Draft will be a 'virtual draft,' still scheduled for April 17

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WNBA Draft will be a 'virtual draft,' still scheduled for April 17

Still monitoring the coronavirus pandemic, the WNBA has announced slight changes to its draft format for the 2020 season.

The league's draft will still be held as scheduled on April 17 at 8:00 pm ET, but be done in a virtual manner. There will be no players, guests or media in attendance. 

This format is similar to what the NFL is reportedly considering. The NFL's draft is still set for April 23-25.

New WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert will announce all 36 picks and the top prospects will be interviewed on the ESPN2 broadcast remotely. 

“Safeguarding the health and well-being of our prospects, players, employees, and everyone connected to our game as well as the general public is paramount. With that in mind, we will work diligently with our broadcast partner, ESPN, to create a memorable but virtual event that appropriately honors these accomplished athletes,” Engelbert said in a release. 

Additionally, the league will honor Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant and Payton Chester, who all died in a helicopter accident on Jan. 26. 

According to their release, the league is still evaluating the impact of the coronavirus on the WNBA. The start of training camp (April 26) and the season opener (May 15) are still on as scheduled at this time. 

The Washington Mystics currently have the 12th, 24th and 36th picks in the draft.

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Natasha Cloud is trying to show Mystics teammates how to dance during the coronavirus outbreak

Natasha Cloud is trying to show Mystics teammates how to dance during the coronavirus outbreak

Professional athletes are having to get creative with how much downtime they have during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Natasha Cloud is using the extra time to show her Washington Mystics teammates – or attempt to show them – how to dance. 

Cloud posted two videos to her Instagram with the caption “What I told them to do Vs What they gave me #QUARENTINE”. In the first video Cloud and two others danced to ‘Hit Yo Groove’ that has been massively amplified due to the ‘Hit Yo Groove Challenge’ that has taken over Instagram and Tik Tok. 

The second video was Elena Delle Donne hilariously trying to replicate the dance moves from Cloud. Their quarantine appears to be going really well...

We’re not professionals on the subject, but we recommend that Delle Donne keep her day job.  

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