Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

An Under the Radar Arrival in Washington, Herrington Could Help Make WNBA Mystics Soar

By ROB KNOX (@knoxrob1)

Armintie Herrington’s presence on the Washington Mystics roster is like adding a secret ingredient to a meal that enhances the flavor from great to ‘make you slap your mama’ awesome.

In a transaction that flew under the radar this offseason, Herrington, a tough as nails veteran guard, signed as a free-agent with the Washington Mystics in February. It could end up being the move that elevates the Mystics to the WNBA mountaintop. Herrington is a critical component to the Mystics championship puzzle.

“I am excited to have another opportunity to play in the league,” Herrington said Monday afternoon during Mystics media day at the Verizon Center. “I am hungry. I am happy to be here and to have another opportunity to learn and grow. More importantly, I know I don’t have many years left in the league so I am focused on winning a championship. Everybody here has the same goals and we feel like we have all the pieces.”

Herrington’s versatility and experience makes Washington’s roster deeper and diverse. More importantly, her wisdom, toughness, defense, and quickness will be welcomed qualities in the nations’ capitol this summer.

Mystic fans will enjoy her passionate performances throughout the season. This will be Herrington’s fourth team since entering the league in 2007. She played for the Los Angeles Sparks last season.

While she will miss her buddies on the west coast, Herrington is happy not to have to deal with the occasional California traffic jam, although D.C. transportation, especially whenever the president decides he wants to take a quick cruise through the city, can be just as tough.

“I am much closer to the Verizon Center and traffic is not as bad,” Herrington said. “It took me 45 minutes to drive to the Staples Center. We were able to find different apps to help us get to the arena quicker. The transition to D.C. has been fine. I’ve been able to work out. "

A 5 foot, 9 inch guard from the University of Mississippi, Herrington was selected in the first round (third overall) of the 2007 WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky.

During her first year, she started every game and went on to earn Rookie of the Year Honors. Herrington was traded during the 2009 season to the Atlanta Dream. She was instrumental to the Dream making the playoffs during her entire tenure with the team.

She joined the Sparks in 2014 as a free agent.

In addition to being named the Rookie of the Year in 2007, Herrington has been named to the All-WNBA Second Team (2011 and 2012) as well as the WNBA All-Defensive First-Team (2013).

Her regular season career averages include 6.3 points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game. Her post season career averages include 6.5 points per game and 3.9 rebounds per game.

“My mentality is thinking like a champion,” Herrington said. “The time is now for us. I am happy to be a part of an organization that wants me and a staff that believes I can help the team. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be coached by Mike (Thibault) and play with not just great players but also great people.”

While Herington should help the Mystics, she is not expected to carry the team.

The Mystics return veterans Ivory Latta, an All-Star last season, Kia Vaughn, who earned MVP honors after helping USK Praha win the FIBA EuroLeague Women championship last month, and Kara Lawson.

In addition, the Mystics’ youthful and brilliant brigade of Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, Emma Meesseman, Jelena Milovanovic, Tayler Hill, Stef Dolson and Bria Hartley should continue to develop.

“We’ve had good leadership with Kara, Kia and Ivory and now you’re bringing in one more veteran in Armintie, who understands what it’s like to play at the highest level,” Thibault said. “She’s not going to be ready to play at the start of the season like she will be at later in the season. Just her voice in the locker room will help our younger players. Anytime you add somebody who has competed for a championship to your team, you’re getting better automatically.”

Herrington has been around enough to know that nothing will be handed to the Mystics no matter how good they look on paper.

She played in consecutive WNBA Final series in 2010 and 2011 with the Atlanta Dream. Last season, the Sparks were expected to challenge for the Lynx and Mercury in the west with their talented roster, but they battled inconsistency.

“I learned that if you don’t put in the work, you’re not going to get anything,” Herrington said. “With this team, we feel like we’ll get the work in and we are all thinking about cutting down nets. That’s the feeling I get from being around this team.”

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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