August 22, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: Washington Mystics induct Nikki McCray-Penson into Hall of Fame, injury update

Natalie and Jenn discuss Nikki McCray-Penson's legacy, Hall of Fame ceremony and Mystics injury update

It’s time for another Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast episode. On Aug. 20, the Washington Mystics posthumously inducted Nikki McCray-Penson into the team’s Hall of Fame, and The Next’s Mystics beat writer Jenn Hatfield joins host Natalie Heavren to recap the touching ceremony and discuss McCray-Penson’s legacy. The pair also discuss the injuries to Shakira Austin, Ariel Atkins, Elena Delle Donne and Kristi Toliver, and Jenn breaks down where the Mystics stand in the playoff race and the importance of Atkins’ contract extension.

Continue reading with a subscription to The Next

Get unlimited access to women’s basketball coverage and help support our hardworking staff of writers, editors, and photographers by subscribing today. Join today

Jenn talks about how the Mystics honored McCray-Penson during their Aug. 20 game:

“The first visible sign of things came over a week ago on Aug. 13 when the Mystics started wearing small patches on the shoulder of their jerseys that said ‘Nikki 15.’ So they carried that through Sunday’s game, continuing to wear those. And then, on Sunday itself, Eric Thibault at his pregame media availability wore a retro Mystics teal and bronze T-shirt, which was a nod to the era that McCray-Penson played in.

“There was a decal on the court. There were warm-up shirts that the entire team was wearing and that opposing head coach Latricia Trammell of the Dallas Wings also wore during the game in what was a very nice touch. There were these black warm-up shirts with McCray-Penson’s 15 and a breast cancer ribbon … symbolizing the disease that took her life. So she was kind of everywhere throughout the arena.”

Jenn talks about the ceremony honoring McCray-Penson:

“The emcee for the day was the Mystics’ longtime play-by-play announcer Meghan McPeak, and she did a great job of just getting through everyone. So remember, this was a halftime ceremony. So the Mystics actually worked it out with the Wings to give them a little bit of extra time and have halftime take a little bit longer than it usually does. But you quite literally don’t have all day, so it needs to be a well-organized performance and McPeak did a great job.

“So they showed a video that was narrated by Dawn Staley, who is McCray-Penson’s former teammate on Team USA. And then we heard remarks from a couple of the Mystics Hall of Famers who were inducted last year in their inaugural class, including Murriel Page and Chamique Holdsclaw. And then after that, Mystics general manager Mike Thibault spoke briefly and then, with the help of McCray-Penson’s 10-year-old son Thomas, a banner was unveiled in the rafters showing all of the names of the Hall of Fame inductees.”


Add Locked On Women’s Basketball to your daily routine

Here at The Next, in addition to the 24/7/365 written content our staff provides, we also host the daily Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast. Join us Monday through Saturday each week as we discuss all things WNBA, collegiate basketball, basketball history and much more. Listen wherever you find podcasts or watch on YouTube.


Make sure to subscribe to Locked on Women’s Basketball, where we have new shows every weekday.

For more coverage of the WNBA, click here.

Written by The Next

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.