Finally in the spotlight, the Washington Mystics surrendered home-court advantage in the WNBA playoffs

By Mike Wise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 26, 2010; 12:12 AM

Great. Beautiful. Just swell.

I am finally geeked up to attend an entire, 40-minute WNBA game - which for a lot of my colleagues in town is the work equivalent of visiting your in-laws - and they blow it.

Big time. They just flat-out give up home-court advantage in one of those best-of-three series where sometimes you never see the home team again after they lose.

Oh, the Mystics put up a fight at the end. And the crowd was crazy and everything when Marissa Coleman started making shots out of her ear, resuscitating Washington like she used to resuscitate Maryland in NCAA regional semifinals.

But they didn't really hit the boards - they tickled them, giving up second and third shots like they were Skittles.

They didn't really play defense - they signed non-aggression pacts with Atlanta Dream players driving to the basket.

I wanted to see someone lay some wood on somebody, plant a babe on the hardwood, put a forearm in someone's trachea. Not some layup drill in the first half by the visiting team.

And as soon as it was over - Julie Plank's mostly resilient team took too long to wake up and now is one loss in Atlanta on Friday from going home for the season after going on a six-game winning streak to steal the top seed in the Eastern Conference - a stark realization came to mind:

The streak is intact. I still have not seen it happen yet.

I should explain.

As big venues go, Verizon Center - the House That Abe Built and Ted Took Over - has been very good to me.

George Mason beat a roster of NBA players to go to the Final Four here in 2006, still the most surreal live event I have covered in this town.

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