Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Washington Mystics Rookies Succeeding Amid Rough Season

© Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Mystics Rookies Aaliyah Edwards and Julie Vanloo have been succeeding individually amid a rough season for the team. While Washington is just 2-12, both players have shown they can compete in the W night in and night out. Fans may be more familiar with Edwards, the former Husky, after her incredible season at UConn. Vanloo may not be one of the better-known rookies, but regardless she’s having an impressive first season.

Washington Mystics Rookies Succeeding Amid Rough Season

Expectations were high for Aaliyah Edwards coming into the league after she was drafted sixth in the 2024 WNBA Draft by Washington. The Kingston, Ontario native was the first UConn player to record 20 points and 20 boards since Maya Moore in 2010. She nearly reached the NCAA Championship game her senior year but lost in the Final Four to Caitlin Clark and Iowa.

Now almost halfway through her rookie year, Edwards is starting to come into form. She’s leading all rookies in field goal percentage at 52% and is second in rebounds with 6.4 per game.AE struggled to find consistent minutes in May, averaging 21 minutes per game and only starting in 2 contests. However, in June Edwards has started in every game and is up to 28 mpg. Increased playing time has proven beneficial to her game. For example, she’s tied for second among all rookies in offensive fouls drawn and shooting fouls drawn.

Rookie? More Like Ready

They say knowing is half the battle. Well, this rookie has shown she knows where opponents are going and has a knack for baiting them into making bad decisions. Edwards does a solid job on defense, too. She’s 2nd among rookies in blocks per game with 1.1. Among the best rookies like Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese, AE especially stands out because of her ability to take care of the ball. While Clark has 51 “bad pass” turnovers, Aaliyah only has 10. Reese has 9 “lost ball” turnovers, while Aaliyah only had 5. Between Edwards’ ability to draw fouls on both sides of the ball, and her maturity that’s a level above her peers, it’s clear to see she’s got a bright future.

Mystics Rookie Julie Vanloo Excelling in Bench Role

Julie Vanloo entered the league with 10 years of professional experience. Having played in France, Sweden, Belgium, Australia, Spain, and Turkey, the 31-year-old Belgian is no stranger to success. She won the 2023 Eurobasket with Belgium and was a Turkish Women’s Super League semi-finalist with Galatasaray in 2022-23 and 2023-24.

Things are a little different these days for Vanloo. She’s on a losing team, but that could prove beneficial for her in the long term. Without the pressure of a win-now championship-hopeful squad, she can use her first year in the league to get comfortable and up to speed. It hasn’t taken long. The Belgian baller has been getting teammates involved at a high clip, with an AST% of 38.7, good enough for 5th in the WNBA. Her playmaking skills have flourished, as Vanloo is 6th in points generated off assists. also 2nd among rookies in 3-point field goals, averaging 2 per game.
Washington got lucky with 2 league-ready rookies in Aaliyah Edwards and Julie Vanloo. Once the team has some more experience they could become a problem for the rest of the W.


More Posts