I will be live blogging (below) from the Washington Mystics vs. Chicago Sky game tonight at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC at 7pm.
This is a special day for the Maryland/Washington, DC area. Why? Because two local stars will be facing each other: Marissa Coleman of the Washington Mystics and Kristi Toliver of the Chicago Stars.
Toliver and Coleman were teammates on the University of Maryland this past year – local and national favorites to advance the club in the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, their journey was cut short with a loss to Louisville in the elite eight.
During the NCAA tournament, Graham Hays from ESPN described the Toliver/Coleman popularity, saying,
“There are times when the things Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman do on a basketball court make it difficult to believe your own eyes. But in person, it doesn’t take a replay to verify the moment. All you have to do is listen for the roar.”
I plan to see that roar again today as the two local stars revisit their home city. I anticipate to see local girls basketball teams filling the stands, including my own, the 14U Classics AAU club of Bethesda, MD, as the WNBA, understood how my girls worship Coleman and Toliver and graciously invited us to witness their reunion.
Unfortunately, Coleman, the most promising rookie on the Mystics – averaging 12.7ppg, suffered a high ankle injury during a practice scrimmage last week. She’s out 4-6 weeks.
However, I am looking forward to seeing Toliver play. Though she’s only averaging 3.5 ppg so far for the Sky, she is expected to make an immediate impact on the club this season.
A piece in the Chicago Tribune earlier this month quoted Kristi’s coach, Steven Key, speaking very highly of her,
“Kristi Toliver is an unbelievable talent. She’s got a lot of skills,” said Sky coach/general manager Steven Key of his first-round draft pick from Maryland. “She can shoot the three and she has an unbelievable eye for her teammates.”
It just may take some time for her (and her teammates) to adjust over the course of this season.
Other players to watch today will be:
Alana Beard – A graduate of Duke in her sixth year with the team, Beard is the Mystics biggest offensive threat as the leading scorer, averaging 17.3 ppg.
Crystal Langhorne – another local favorite, Langhorne, a Maryland graduate, led the Terps to a national championship in 2006. At 6?2,” Langhorne leads the Mystics in rebounds, averaging over 8 per game, and is third leading scorer, averaging 10.3 ppg.
Monique Currie – In her fourth year with the league, Currie is a graduate of the Duke women’s basketball powerhouse. Another strong team leader, Currie averages 7 ppg so far this season.
Chicago Sky –
Jia Perkins – A Texas Tech graduate who has been playing in the WNBA since 2004, though she skipped her first year due to the birth of her daughter. Perkins now leads the Sky with 19.8 ppg. And, at only 5?8?, she grabs an impressive 5.8 rebounds per game.
Sylvia Fowles – A Louisiana State grad in her second year with the league, goes by the name “Big Syl” as she towers a height of 6?6?. She averages 15.5 ppg and grabs 8.8 rebounds per game.
Candice Dupree – A graduate of Temple in her fourth year with the WNBA, Dupree, 6?2,” already averages 15ppg for the Sky.
Looks like a good game. Be sure to check out the live blogging via the box below