Among the Washington Mystics' on-court issues during last season's 5-29 campaign, point guard play. Truthfully, minimal production and floor generalship from that position has been problematic over the last two trying seasons.
In his first offseason move since being named the Mystics Head Coach and General Manager, Mike Thibault addressed that weakness by signing free agent guard Ivory Latta, the team announced on Friday.
Latta, a five-year WNBA veteran who spent the last three seasons with the Tulsa Shock, averaged a career-high 14.3 points with 3.3 assists last season. A first round pick by Detroit in 2007, the 5-foot-6 guard averages 9.9 points, 2.6 assists while shooting 37.1 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.
“I am honored that I have the opportunity to play for the Washington Mystics,” Latta said in a statement released by the team. “I look forward to working with my teammates to make this team a playoff contender.”
Realistically, Latta likely inherits the starting role. Jasmine Thomas is the top option among the returning players, but the rising third-year guard is best suited in a scoring role. 2012 first-round pick Natalie Novosel offers a defense presence while 5-foot-3 Shannon Bobbitt provides energy off the bench.
"I am very excited with Ivory's decision to come to Washington. I strongly believe she can be a catalyst for our turnaround,” Thibault said. “Her improvement over the last two seasons has been terrific and she will help fill our need for a point guard that will push the tempo, can penetrate to score or create for her teammates and feed the post. Our fans will love the excitement and professionalism that she will provide on and off the court."
A graduate of the University of North Carolina, Latta led her team to back-to-back Final Four appearances. She earned numerous honors, including All-ACC First Team and AP All-American and was a finalist for the Wade Trophy. Latta has the distinction of being the all-time leading scorer in South Carolina high school history with a total of 4,319 career points.