At the halfway point during the Washington Mystics' 2014 season -- 17 games in the books and 17 left to go --- the Mystics put up a 7-10 record. With a roster full of young players, and a few veterans leading the way, the Mystics struggled early on to find an identity.
"Right now, we just have to figure out who we are and go with it," center Kia Vaughn said earlier during the season.
With the challenges of learning to communicate better on the court pretty much behind them, the Mystics now must figure out how to master a more basic struggle -- getting the ball to drop through the net.
"The only word I can use right now is aggravating," coach Mike Thibault said after the Mystics' 73-65 loss to the San Antonio Silver Stars June 29 at Verizon Center. "I thought our defensive focus on game plan was mediocre tonight. We're good when we play basketball side to side and move the ball. Tonight, I thought we got caught dribbling a lot. Right now, we're the worst 3-point shooting team, or next-to-the-worst 3-point shooting team, in the league with players who are considered to be good 3-point shooters, and that's pretty difficult."
Thibault's stats were pretty accurate. Through 17 games, Washington shot 28.7 percent from 3-point range, the worst percentage in the league, and the only team shooting less than 30 percent. On average, the Mystics are giving up 35.3 percent from beyond the arc to their opponents.
"I think if you miss layups and you miss wide-open 3s, you're digging a big hole," Thibault said, "and we're doing that right now."
Washington is averaging 42.1 percent from the floor, with point guard Ivory Latta (10.9) leading the way in points per game, and forward Emma Meesseman leading in field goal percentage (49.3) among the starters.
"We've just got to figure out a way to finish games," Latta said, "especially games at home, in front of this crowd. These fans, they really do believe in us, but we've got to perform for them. It's just something that we've got to figure out."
The Mystics will have one more game at Verizon Center, July 2 against the Indiana Fever, before embarking on a five-game road trip, then returning home for three games before the July 29 break for the All-Star Game in Phoenix.
As of July 1, Latta was second in the All-Star voting among Eastern Conference guards.