Shannon Bobbitt had been on the radar screen of Washington Mystics General Manager and Coach Trudi Lacey long before Lacey picked up the phone to let the 5-foot-2 guard know she was the newest member of the Mystics two weeks ago. After all, Bobbitt hit a game-winning shot to beat Washington last season when she was still a member of the Indiana Fever.
But looking back now, with Bobbitt set to enter Washington’s starting lineup Friday night at Verizon Center against the Connecticut Sun, Lacey recalls that phone call as a harbinger for what was to come.
“We just hit it off. We clicked,” Lacey explained. “I think because we’re a lot alike. We’re both very competitive. We both believe in defense. She’s fearless and that’s what you want in a point guard.”
From the moment Bobbitt arrived in Washington, she had Lacey’s trust. In fact, 48 hours after joining the team, Bobbitt came off the bench and scored the decisive basket when the Mystics beat Indiana, 67-66, a game in which the smallest player on the floor drew the loudest ovations from the Verizon Center crowd.
It’s not a new phenomenon for Bobbitt, who models her game after former NBA great Mugsy Bogues, who stood 5-3. She has always embraced the doubters that focus on her diminutive stature, whether she was honing her game on the playgrounds of Harlem growing up or guiding Tennessee to back-to-back national titles in 2007 and 2008.
“I don’t have that many weaknesses, I just have one disadvantage that can’t be fixed,” Bobbitt said of her height. “But nobody looks at the other side, when you have to guard me. A 5-2 player is not supposed to have the capability that I have, And I come out on the floor and play like I’m 6-8 and with a lot of confidence.”
It’s this mental fortitude that has endeared Bobbitt to Lacey. The coach hopes Bobbitt’s toughness will translate to fewer breakdowns during key moments, because “she doesn’t mind getting people where they need to be, and that’s what I need,” Lacey said.
Late-game breakdowns have been an issue for the Mystics the past two seasons, and it’s played a big role in why they enter Friday’s game having lost eight of their past nine. But Bobbitt hopes to change all that, if only because she feels the need to reward Lacey’s faith.
“She took a chance with me and I’m trying to re-pay her back by winning some games.” Bobbitt said.