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Mystics' Darsch, Nagy on Sports Online

Nancy Darsch
Mystics Coach Nancy Darsch (pictured) and starting point guard Andrea Nagy were on Sports Online on Tuesday, May 25, to discuss the upcoming season that begins on June 10. With the addition of Chamique Holdsclaw, the Mystics are optimistic about their chances this season. The transcript of the discussion follows.

Miami, Florida: How would you compare yourself to the other point guards in the WNBA? I saw you play in the ABL and I think you were at the top of the field. Do you think you can make the same kind of impact in the WNBA?

Andrea Nagy: It is really hard to compare myself to the other point guards in the WNBA because I haven't played against them yet. I guess I'm just going to have to play but whenever I play, I'm just going to try my best.

Sweetwater, Florida: What has been your biggest challenge since turning pro?

Andrea Nagy: It has been really different because I have had to play against the best players. The biggest challenge is to play against the best everyday. Everyone is just more skilled and more athletic than in college. I've heard a lot of great things about the crowds in the WNBA but I haven't had a chance to play in front of them.

Silver Spring, Maryland: Ms. Nagy, at the game on Saturday, May 22, I could tell you feel comfortable directing a team. Is this an accurate impression?

Andrea Nagy: I feel comfortable playing for Coach Darsch and I feel really fortunate playing for this team. I think we'll have a really successful season. I was amazed at how many people came out to see us. It's really good to know we have such good support behind us. I was looking forward to the game. I think we did pretty good. We have only been practicing a week together but I think we did pretty good.

San Francisco, CA: How do you feel about having male reporters in your locker room after a game?

Andrea Nagy: I don't think it is any different if there is a male or female reporter in the locker room. It doesn't make any difference to me.

Arlington, Virginia: What do you think you can bring to the Mystics, as in skills or point of view?

Andrea Nagy: I think I can bring experience. I've played for a lot of different coaches and players. I think I have a lot of experience at this level. Hopefully my teammates will see me as a leader. I think a point guard has to be a leader on the floor. You have to make sure the team does what the coach tells you at halftime or through the whole week.

Alexandria, Virginia: When you aren't playing, what teams are you a fan of and enjoy watching?

Andrea Nagy: I didn't have a chance to watch too many games because I was overseas. I enjoyed watching the Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen played for them.

Pembroke Pines, FL: I know you like to push the ball up the court – is this a team and a coach that will be able to get out and run – similar to the athletes you had at Long Beach?

Andrea Nagy: I think we will be able to do very well this year because we have Chamique Holdsclaw and Nikki McCray playing the [shooting guard and small forward] two and three spots and they're very athletic and we have Shalonda Enis at the [power forward] four spot so we should be able to get out and run. Our coach's philosophy is play tough defense, pass and share the ball and run, so I think we'll be able to get out and run.

Fairfax, Virginia: Aren't you originally from Hungary? Do you play there during the winter?

Andrea Nagy: I am from Hungary but haven't played in the Hungarian league in eight years. I played in Strausburg, France and after the ABL folded, Istanbul, Turkey. It's a lot different from playing the States. The crowds are different and the whole philosophy behind basketball and the media coverage. The style of play is more finesse. Here it is more physical and based on athleticism. There is almost no media coverage overseas. In Istanbul, there are four big club teams, so the turnouts for those games was big and the crowds were hostile.

Springfield, Virginia: What has your experience been so far with Holdsclaw and McCray?

Andrea Nagy: I have a great time playing with them. I love playing with them. I had a pretty easy time adjusting. They're so talented it is easy to just pass them the ball. It's been a really good experience.

Fairfax, Virginia: Though you weren't here last season, there was plenty of fan support for what was otherwise, statistically, a very poor team. How much pressure is there to win this year with the additions of players such as yourself and Chamique Holdsclaw?

Andrea Nagy: I don't think the team feels the pressure. We're going to come out every night and do our best. I think we're going to do really well. Our team got much better with Shalonda Enis and Holdsclaw but other teams got a lot better too. We're just going to have to take it game by game.

San Francisco, CA: Two of your teammates, Nikki McCray and Chamique Holdsclaw, are pure scorers, and several other Mystics have proven offensive abilities too. As point guard, how are you going to keep everybody happy? Are you going to try to lead the league in assists this year?

Andrea Nagy: I'm just going to try and get everybody involved on offense. We're going to run the Triangle offense so the offense is going to get people open for shots. I never try to lead the league in assists. It's never on my mind. I'm just going to go out and play, it's not one of my goals to lead the league in assists. If it happens, I'll be really happy.

Baltimore, MD: I was at the Utah game and I saw some "cheap" fouls called. How long will it take for players to get used to the new rule against hand-checking? Do the players like the rule?

Andrea Nagy: I think it'll take a while to get used to the new rule but you just have to adapt to the change. We've only had one game but it was different. I think it will take a few games to adapt to it. There are a lot of new rule changes to remember, but it will take a few games for the players and the referees to get used.

Miami, Florida: Who do you think is the best point guard in the WNBA.

Andrea Nagy: I think there are so many good ones in the WNBA. They have so many different skills so it is hard to compare them. Last year, one of the best defensive guards would be Theresa Witherspoon. This year, would be Shannon Johnson from Orlando and Debbie Black of Utah. Offensively, I'd have to go with Cynthia Cooper and Nikki McCray.

Queens, New York: Have you had any experience running the "Triangle" offense and do you and your teammates expect to have any problems learning it?

Andrea Nagy: I've had experience with it before in Seattle [in the ABL]. I don't think we'll have any problems with it and we just have to improve on it day by day. It is difference because you have so many choices on who to pass to. It is really hard to defend. All of us on the team have to make decisions on who to pass to, it's not just the point guard.

Miramar, Florida: Do you think Washington Mystics have a chance to qualify for the playoffs considering you have so many new players who have not played together in the past?

Andrea Nagy: I think we a really good chance. We've only played together a week. I think we have really good team chemistry and we're getting to know each other very fast. The most important thing is our team really likes each other and that can help in a crucial time because you trust each other. I think we're doing pretty well. We want to thank Andrea for coming on Sports Online. Coach Darsch will be answering question in a few moments.

Flushing, New York: Coach Darsch, what are your expectations for the Mystics this season?

Coach Nancy Darsch: We want to improve on last season's performance and compete for a playoff spot. I think we have increased the amount of talent here and if we play hard and compete hard, we can compete for a playoff spot.

Washington D.C.: Who, among the "new" participants at training camp, have been most surprising to you in terms of their potential for immediate contribution to the Mystics this season?

Coach Nancy Darsch: I think Andrea Nagy has been even more than what we expected. She's been very competitive and strong willed and has very good ball handling skills as well as leadership skill. She is our starting point guard.

Bethesda Md: How much pressure to win is on the Mystics this season after a disappointing year last summer, especially after the addition of Holdsclaw?

Coach Nancy Darsch: I think there is always pressure to win, that's why we are all here. I think we're just going to go out and play and have some fun and winning should follow.

Fall Church, VA: What are the starting five looking like at this point? Also where are you going to play Holdsclaw?

Coach Nancy Darsch: The starting five is Nagy, McCray, Holdsclaw, Murriel Page and Jennifer Whittle, right now. Holdsclaw will play the [small forward] three spot primarily but will also have some time at the four spot.

Silver Spring, MD: What were some of the most important lessons you learned while coaching the Liberty?

Coach Nancy Darsch: I learned that team chemistry is very important and team leadership is very important. So far the team chemistry here has been very good. I think we'll just have to wait and see who the team leaders are.

Montgomery Village, MD: Do you have in place the players to run the "Triple Post or Triangle" Offense?

Coach Nancy Darsch: I think for the most part, yes. I think so far the players really like and they are learning where the shots come from.

Queen, New York: For Coach Darsch: My game plan would simply be to give the ball to McCray and-or Holdsclaw and tell everyone else to clear out. Hopefully, your plan is a bit more elaborate – what style of play should we expect to see on offense?

Coach Nancy Darsch: We'd like to run the ball. Second, we'll share the ball in the triangle offense and our go-to people, more than likely, will be McCray and Holdsclaw, possibly Ennis as we see her develop. Ennis has a lot of versatility and is a good three point shooter and a low block player who can get to the foul line. She's got a pulled quad so she's been out of practice the past few days. We hope she's back soon.

Gaithersburg, Md: Do you believe the image of women and sports has turned the corner and have as much respectability as men in sports?

Coach Nancy Darsch: I think it has turned the corner and in some places, has a more positive image than men in sports. I think since it has become a lot more visable, we have a lot more positive signals being sent and a lot more people enjoying the performances of women athletes.

Miami, Florida: We all know that Teresa Weatherspoon was a great defensive point guard as well as a tremendous leader. How would you compare her and Andrea Nagy to each other. Can you list some of the strengths and weakness of both.

Coach Nancy Darsch: I think Spoon is more emotional and she might be a little stronger, physically. I think they are both unselfish and they both look to get the ball to the hot hand. They're both very strong minded.

Fairfax, Virginia: Sorry to learn about Shalonda Enis' injury. How's Nikki McCray's ankle doing?

Coach Nancy Darsch: Nikki practiced half of practice yesterday and seems to be doing well. We'll continue to increase her practice time until she's back to full strength.

Washington, DC: I was at the game Saturday night. It was good to have see the Mystics. It seemed that a number of turnovers were the result of maybe passing up an open shot and trying to make the perfect pass. Unselfishness is good but, how can that be corrected? See you June 10 and the rest of the season.

Coach Nancy Darsch: It's a good problem to have initially. We encourage players to look for each other. Once they become more familiar with the offense in game situations, we'll make a better open pass or take better shots. For the most part I was pleased with what I saw, especially our top seven to eight people, but for just one week of practice, I thought it was pretty good.

San Francisco, CA: Nancy: Fair or not, the moment the Mystics selected Chamique Holdsclaw, they established themselves as the team of the future in the WNBA. How much freedom will you give Chamique to carry the team on her back, like Jordan did for the Bulls for so many years?

Coach Nancy Darsch: I think initially we have to focus on team offense. We do have more than one offensive weapon but Holdsclaw will be a go-to player. McCray and Ennis will be another option.

Miami, FL: It seems as though you have a somewhat small, but extremely athletic team. What type of style do you anticipate playing this season?

Coach Nancy Darsch: Aggressive defense, and attacking transition and team offense. We will try to have an up-tempo offense.

Alexandria, VA: I saw the game on Saturday and was impressed by the relative cohesiveness of the team on both defense and offense despite being together only for little over a week. My question is on the prospects for Enis who we didn't get to see play. What are her strengths and what do you see her bringing to the Mystics' arsenal?

Coach Nancy Darsch: Her strengths are her versatility and she can score in transition and she can score from the three point line and she gets to the free throw line a lot. She will play the four spot for us.

Queens, New York: Where would you rate the Mystics as far as talent goes, among the other WNBA teams?

Coach Nancy Darsch: I think our top six or seven players are very competitive with other teams, even though four of those are new to the team. I think other teams have the advantage in that their players have played together. The other place I think teams might have an advantage is their seven through eleven players – our depth isn't yet where we want it to be. That's about all the time we have. We want to thank Coach Darsch and Andrea Nagy for taking the time to participate.

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