First-round draft pick Temeka Johnson hasn't needed long to make an impact for the Washington Mystics.
Johnson has started all five games at point guard and has scored in double figures four times. Her seven assists per game lead the team and are a big reason why Washington leads the WNBA in that category (18 per game).
Johnson really asserted herself in Wednesday's 77-68 loss to New York, making 6 of 15 shots to finish with 13 points. No other Mystics player took more than nine shots. Johnson wasn't just shooting the ball -- she also doled out a career-high 11 assists.
Mystics Coach Richie Adubato isn't concerned by the number of shots Johnson is taking (8.25 per game), particularly because she makes close to 55 percent. He had been looking for someone to shoulder the scoring responsibility while Alana Beard was out with an ankle injury.
"Because of [Johnson's] penetration ability, as long as she shoots a high percentage and as long as she distributes the ball and gets 11 assists, we'll be all right with that," Adubato said. "I think the distribution will change because we'll be going inside more to Chasity [Melvin] and we'll be featuring [Beard]."
Playing the Percentages
Adubato's goal is for the Mystics to hold their opponent under 40 percent shooting in every game. So far, Washington has managed to meet that goal only once. In their season opener against Charlotte, the Mystics held the Sting to 29 percent shooting. Since then, their opponents' shooting percentage has continued to rise with each game: Connecticut (46 percent), Los Angeles (49 percent), New York (55 percent) and Minnesota (45.6 percent). Washington's defense ranks fourth-worst in field goal percentage.
"We've got to be better inside one-on-one defensively, and we've got to rebound better," Adubato said. "If we rebound better, naturally, we're going to get more fast breaks, and we're going to get easier baskets."
The Mystics will host their annual Breast Health Awareness Night on Friday, when they host defending champion Seattle. The first 5,000 fans who enter MCI Center will receive a pink floppy hat. Fans wishing to participate in "Survivor Island," a section of reserved seats for breast cancer survivors, should call 202-661-5000 or download a form at www.washingtonmystics.com.
A portion of the ticket sales from this section will be donated to a breast cancer institution in the Washington area. Survivors will also participate in the Mystics pregame ball exchange and player introductions and are encouraged to wear pink clothing.