Emma Meesseman of the Washington Mystics is tied for the tallest player on the roster yet is tied for the team leader in assists. In a season without Elena Delle Donne, Natasha Cloud, and newly acquired Tina Charles, Meesseman has done a lot more facilitating for the Mystics averaging a career-high 4.5 assists a game.
In Wednesday’s win against the Atlanta Dream, Meesseman dished out a career-high 10 assists. Meesseman joined Courtney Vandersloot (CHI), Diana Taurasi (PHX), Jordin Canada (SEA), and Julie Allemand (IND) as the only players this season to record 10 or more assists in a game.
It was Meesseman’s third double-double of the season and joins Vandersloot and Taurasi as the only players to record point-assist double-doubles. For a 6-4 forward, Messseman is the most unexpected member of that assists club.
Meesseman has become more of a passer as her career has gone on. Her assists per year have risen steadily from 1.7 in 2015 to 3.2 in 2019 to now 4.5 in 2020.
At Thursday’s media availability, Meesseman told Sports Are FromVenus about her role as a facilitator this season.
“Since we are missing a lot of players, it is a little harder for me to score because together with the players from last year, I am more of a focal point for the opposite scouting. Every time I get the ball a double-team comes in which means somebody else is open and I’m just glad when the ball goes back out they’ll make the shot, that’s really it. It’s a little different than last year so I am happy that I can make it easier for other people and trying to get them open in some kind of way and last night was a good shooting night.”
Mystics head coach Mike Thibault told Sports Are From Venus in regards to Meesseman’s facilitating:
“I think she likes that part of the game to begin with. We’re still gonna be on her about being more aggressive but I thought she read the offense well. It was obviously a big night with 12 points. I thought she was aggressive looking to catch the ball and looking to make plays. As I’ve said to her before, ‘you don’t have to shoot every time’ (although I’d like her to probably shoot a little bit more). But you don’t have to as long as your aggressive with it and make teams hard on you. If you’re aggressive early in games and looking to score, that helps set up the rest of your game, your passing, your rebounding, those kinds of things. I want her to have that mindset that she can put her imprint on our offense every night and will probably change night to night, probably get played differently every night, tomorrow she’ll be switched on, other times she’ll be flat up double-teamed, some teams try to play her really physically, and try to get her off her game, and you have to learn to react to all of that.”
Meesseman is averaging 12.8 points a game this season along with a career-high 6.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals. Meesseman is averaging more minutes and taking more shots this season with many key Mystics opting out. Meesseman has taken a bigger role in the offense as a scorer and facilitator and will be one of the biggest reasons the Mystics earn a playoff spot in 2020.
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AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack