Alameda Mystics Fall Short in Basketball Title Match

Women’s Professional Basketball Association -- Alameda Mystics forward Mia Jackson battles for position in the Women’s Premier Basketball Association championship game Sunday, August 7, at the College of Alameda.

Alameda Mystics Fall Short in Basketball Title Match

The Alameda Mystics women’s basketball team lost the inaugural Women’s Premier Basketball Association (WPBA) championship game, 82-80, to the Oakland Swish in overtime Sunday, August 7, at the College of Alameda gymnasium.

The Mystics had control for most of the game. They led 60-49 heading into the fourth quarter. The Mystics secured their largest lead of the game at 64-51 after former UCLA Bruin IImar’i Thomas scored a two-pointer from the post with more than eight minutes left on the clock. But the Swish responded with a 12-2 run, capped by a midrange jump shot by former UC Berkeley Golden Bear Nicol Berry, to cut the Mystics’ lead to 66-63 with six minutes left. The Mystics committed three turnovers during the streak. Mystics forward Mia Jackson hit a baseline jumper on the right side of the basket to end the run and push her team’s lead to 68-63.

The Mystics led 71-69 with two minutes remaining when Swish guard Rocky Avila stole the ball from Thomas and passed ahead to Alexis Brown who was fouled on her layup attempt. Before Brown took her free throw attempts, the Mystics were called for a technical foul. The Swish made all three free throw attempts, and they took a 72-71 lead with 1:44 left in regulation.

Jackson responded with a baseline jumper, this time on the left side of the basket, to give the Mystics a 73-72 lead. Avila went right down the court and maneuvered through the defense before dishing it off to Aquira Decosta in the paint for a contested two giving the Swish a 74-73 lead with 30 seconds left. Thomas split free throws on the next possession to tie the game at 74.

With 14 second left in regulation, Brown had the ball at the three-point line. She dribbled to the right elbow and took a pull-up jumper, but airballed. However, her teammate Madison Michelis grabbed the rebound and made a layup underneath the basket to give the Mystics a 76-74 lead with two seconds remaining.

The game appeared over. The Mystics called a timeout to advance the ball to half court. Mystics forward Jasmin Guinn inbounded the ball to Jackson. Jackson took two dribbles to her left, went up for a shot attempt, but was fouled. Jackson sank both free throws and the game went into overtime.

Jackson also made the first basket of the two-minute overtime period. Acosta responded with a bucket in the paint. Jackson came right back with another paint bucket, her ninth straight point for the Mystics, to regain the lead 80-78. Avila quickly responded with a three-pointer to give the Swish an 81-80 lead with 31 second remaining in overtime.

Down one, the Mystics tried to ride the hot hand and gave the ball to Jackson. Jackson got the ball in the post but was called for an offensive foul giving the back to the Swish.

Avila hit a free throw to push the Swish’s lead to 82-20 with 10 seconds left. On the next possession the Swish defense smothered the Mystics and forced guard Faatimah A. into a tough shot that clanked off the rim at the buzzer. The Swish immediately celebrated their title victory.

The WPBA is a professional women’s basketball league, certified by FIBA, the international basketball governing body, designed to develop female athletes and help them get recruited to play professional basketball globally. All teams are based in the East Bay and San Francisco. There are six teams in the league: the Swish, the Mystics, Hayward Reign, Berkeley Royals, Bay City Trailblazers, and San Francisco Riptide.

Teams played a 10-week summer season, beginning in June, with most games played at Fremont High in Oakland and College of Alameda. To learn more about the WPBA, visit www.womenspba.com.