Mystics Would Not Be Where They Are Without Sanders

 

By Jasmine Brown

LaToya Sanders’ shot is as soft as they come, but it goes in almost every time. She doesn’t have the frame of most centers, but she is not to be messed with under the basket. She is commonly left wide open, but it’s due to her being an underestimated midrange shooter. It is the WNBA playoffs and players still do not have an answer for the Mystics’ center. It’s okay though, because she was not even playing in the first four games of the season. So teams may have seen her randomly come off of the bench to eventually becoming a starter and scratch their heads. She is one of the reasons why the Mystics are in the semifinals right now.

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The Mystics defeated the Dream in Atlanta Sunday night. They shot 42.3 percent behind the arc and was a perfect 100 percent from the stripe, but even though Elena Delle Donne scored 30 points, she was guarded tightly by Jessica Breland. Not to mention the team suffered a late collapse that could have sent this game into overtime. Overall, the Mystics pulled out a strong road win to take a 1-0 lead in the semis. Delle Donne is the main key to the team and it’s obvious that she is, but Sanders compliments Delle Donne and the team in other ways that quietly make the Mystics a dangerous team. Sanders scored eight points and snagged nine rebounds with three blocks in the win on Sunday.

The hardest thing to believe is that Sanders has not gotten a lot of headlines. In the sixth game of the season, Sanders scored four points in the 103-95 win over the Mercury. They got the win without Delle Donne and Natasha Cloud. By her 11th game, Sanders exploded for 12 points and 11 rebounds, her first double-double of the season. She even scored a career-high 25 points in the win over the Wings earlier in the season. Cloud, Tianna Hawkins and Sanders’ ability to make defenders shift will make teams have to start game planning for her moving forward. Maybe it’s nice that she’s been so under the radar.

Again, the Mystics would not be where they are without Sanders. She is a great blocker, an efficient shooter and very effective as a midrange shooter. Her midrange shooting abilities coupled with being left open are the main reasons why it’s hard for most players to handle her. Not to mention her defense is phenomenal. The offense goes through her, and this is critical if the Mystics want to stay hot, but also if they want to win a title.