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.
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.”
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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.”
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