A WNBA team in Washington, D.C.. Born in 1998, the Mystics were part of the league's first wave of expansion effort, along with the Detroit Shock.

The Mystics are one of the most popular WNBA teams in terms of attendance. In 1998, despite an awful 3-27 record, the Mystics drew an average of 15,910 fans for their 15 home games — the highest mark in the league. The team has kept attendance above 15,000 per game in every season since then, and along with the New York Liberty the Mystics are the only team ever to draw more than 200,000 fans in a season.

Too bad the fans don't have much to cheer for. The Mystics have only made the playoffs once in their existence, getting swept by the Liberty in the first round of the 2000 playoffs.

Put it this way: The most exciting moment in team history came during the 1999 WNBA draft (in which each team takes turns selecting newly-eligible amateur and foreign players). Because the Mystics were a league-worst 3-27, they got the first pick of the draft. They used it to select University of Tennessee star Chamique Holdsclaw, a player some believed would become the greatest ever.

After her three seasons as a pro, we can say that if she is the greatest ever, she's taking her damn time showing it. The 6-foot-2 forward has a career scoring average of 17.1 points per game, which is good but not great. Holdsclaw's shot selection is more worrisome; her career field-goal percentage is 43.5 percent, and that's bad for a forward. On the other hand, she did average 8.8 rebounds a game in 2001, a very good total for a non-center. Right now, Holdsclaw isn't considered the best player in the league. In the 2001 Most Valuable Player voting, she finished tied for ninth place with Jennifer Azzi. Lisa Leslie won the award.

For the 2002 season, the Mystics hired Marianne Stanley as coach, though the Orlando Sentinel erroneously reported that former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy would be hired. The Mystics traded popular shooting guard Nikki McCray for draft picks and young center Angie Braziel, and it seems the team has decided to surround Holdsclaw with young players and see what happens — like they're playing poker and are asking the dealer for four new cards. We'll see if it works.

Yr.     W-L    Win%
1998    3-27   0.100
1999   12-20   0.375
2000   14-18   0.438
2001   10-22   0.313

Sources: Sportsticker, http://mysticszone.4t.com/history.htm, www.WNBA.com

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