At Thursday’s news conference to announce the Washington Mystics new sponsor and new uniforms, I had a chance to catch up with Crystal Langhorne, Monique Currie, Chasity Melvin and Alana Beard.

 I asked Melvin what she thought about Trudi Lacey taking over as Mystics Coach.

 “Trudi is N.C. State. We’re family,” said Melvin, who along with Lacey played basketball for Kay Yow at North Carolina State. “She knows what I can do. She knows all my abilities.

“Like I try to tell people, a lot of the fans are upset about the changes. [Lacey replaced Julie Plank as coach and Angela Taylor as general manager.] I’m like, it’s not whether it’s this was good or this was bad. Change is just change. [Change] happens. It’s a change and how we approach it.

“We’re excited and we’re just going to try and move forward. As long as we add some winning to everything that’s going on, we look to have a very positive season.”

 Because Beard missed all last season with an ankle injury and has been plagued by injuries throughout her career, I asked her if she was going to play this season.

 “I hope so. That’s my goal,” she said. “I’ll be ready to go.”

 Like Melvin, Beard is optimistic about the coming season.

 “Expectations are running high,” she said. “This team, we can do some tremendous things. We had the best season last year. I think everything is just starting to come together. We lost out in the first round of the playoffs. It’s happened every year that I’ve been here, but it’s time to take that next step and I think this is that next step.”

With the opening of training camp a month away, Langhorne already has started preparing for the season by working out at her alma mater, the University of Maryland, with Terrapins assistant coach David Adkins and strength and conditioning coach Kyle Tarp.

 “I’m so excited I can’t wait” for the season to start, Langhorne said. “I’m ready to get started back up.”

 Langhorne had a long talk with Lacey while they both were stuck in the airport in Indianapolis, trying to fly home from the Final Four.

 “We were talking about a lot of things,” Langhorne said. “She told me what to expect about this year. . . . She wants us to run, be really fast, up-tempo and high-intensity on defense.”

It has been 11 weeks since Monique Currie underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her knee. Currie, who had a similar surgery in 2002, has been spending her days on her rehabilitation. So far, she says rehab has gone well and she hasn’t suffered any setbacks.