April 26, 2024 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: Washington Mystics training camp preview

Jenn and Natalie talk draft picks, offseason signings and more

Across the WNBA, training camps start this Sunday so what better time to have Washington Mystics beat reporter Jenn Hatfield join Natalie Heavren for an episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball?

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The pair discuss the Mystics’ new draft picks like Aaliyah Edwards of UConn and returning stars like Shakira Austin, who could combine to create a powerful frontcourt.

“I think that can just be a really like athletic, versatile duo, they’ve both got high ceilings, and I think they can, you know, make each other better in a lot of ways, particularly if Edwards ends up stretching out her range as the Mystics hope she can to the three-point line,” Jenn said. “I’m excited to see what they can do on both ends and just how they grow over the next several seasons.”

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Jenn also talked about how the team approached the draft knowing that they have limited roster space once training camp ends. They used the 21st pick on Gonzaga’s Kaylynne Truong and the 30th on Nastja Claessens, a Belgian national who will stay in Europe and develop this year.

“It’s kind of a weird time in the WNBA universe with the collective bargaining agreement, potentially being opted out of in the next several years and so roster buildings kind of in flux. Mike Thibault talked about how hard it is to game plan for the future right now and, and how team building is a little bit different now with players really only signing one or two-year deals in anticipation of that CBA,” Jenn said. “The Mystics have also done this kind of draft and stash option with young international players in the past for you know, players that they think have high potential and want to be able to have the rights to so I think this could just be a kind of a low-risk high-upside gamble by them.”

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They also covered other free-agent transactions like picking up Stefanie Dolson and Karlie Samuelson. They join Ariel Atkins, who signed a two-year contract extension in August and then spent her offseason as an assistant coach for player development at Michigan.

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