Ryan Mayer

Washington Mystics guard Kristi Toliver wants to be a coach after her playing career comes to an end. She got a chance to test the coaching waters on Monday when she sat on the bench for the Washington Wizards Summer League contest against the Philadelphia 76ers in Las Vegas.

Toliver caught a red-eye flight to Vegas after the Mystics game Sunday in Seattle against the Storm in order to be there for the Wizards game on Monday. She told reporters afterwards that the idea to coach came from constantly being asked what she wanted to do when her playing career was over.

“Basketball is my love and my passion and I just want to be able to stay connected to the game in any way that I can,” said Toliver. “Coaching is a way to do that. As a point guard, basketball IQ for me, I’ve been around the game in the NBA forever and my dad is an NBA ref. The NBA is my passion, so I’m glad that I can find a way to be involved in it.”

The Wizards beat the 76ers 87-75 with Toliver providing advice and talking with players in the huddle during timeouts. Toliver, a 10-year WNBA veteran, is the latest woman to be on the bench of an NBA team, joining Becky Hammon (San Antonio Spurs) and Nancy Lieberman (Sacramento Kings). Toliver isn’t quite done with her playing career yet however, she’s currently averaging 14 points and four assists for the Mystics who sit third in the league with a 12-7 record. You can check out Toliver’s full conversation with reporters following Monday’s game in the video below.