This season, the Mystics are adding DMV native Ariana Freeman to the roster of broadcasters. She will be the team’s new sideline reporter, joining Christy Winters-Scott and Meghan McPeak on NBC Sports Washington and Monumental Sports Network. Ariana will be the team’s first sideline reporter for the Mystics since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Ariana describes this as “a full circle moment,” adding “All I did was try and get tickets to Mystics games and watch them growing up. So being able to actually not watch them in the stands but be there on the sidelines, is absolutely crazy.”
Ariana is from northern Virginia and has a history in not only journalism, but with basketball as well. After graduating from Paul VI Catholic High School and making the ESPN top 100 players list, she went to play for the University of Louisville. There she teamed up with fellow freshman and current Washington Mystic Myisha Hines-Allen. Later, Ariana transferred to the University of Colorado Boulder, where she finished her basketball career and obtained her degree in Broadcast Journalism.
The broadcaster came back to Virginia to pursue her master’s degree from George Mason University. From there she went through a rollercoaster of events leading to her first professional reporting role. Only a week after tearing her Achilles during basketball practice at GMU, she was hired by Washington’s professional football team as their on-air Charitable Foundation reporter for the season.
She eventually moved to CBS News working as a part-time news associate and quickly was promoted by CBS as their full-time Broadcast Associate on the News Desk. She reported on feature stories involving several college athletes and even pitched a Title IX exclusive to the network. This Title IX allowed her CBS team to speak with the winningest coach in women’s basketball history, Coach Tara Vanderveer of Stanford and the Director of Inclusion for the NCAA Dr. Amy Wilson. The show was the only evening news primetime network to highlight the historical moment. Her talents on-air took her a step further with CBS and she then joined the Evening News with Norah O’ Donnell.
Ariana has a wide range of experience, has played on the highest collegiate level of women’s basketball, and has seen a NCAA Sweet Sixteen. This season, she joins our team of all-female broadcaster alongside Christy Winters-Scott and Meghan McPeak.
She says “It is something that is rare. You don’t really see all-female broadcast teams out there. Especially not play-by-play, color commentating… so the fact that I am able to join Christy and Meghan’s team and we’re able to have a sideline reporter and give that triple bunch, I am so excited.”
Ariana was always meant to be in this space and for her, there are so many full circle moments that have led her here. Most notably when she was 16, after talking to Christy Winters-Scott at a Mystics game, Ariana had a chance to shadow Christy while she was a color commentator.
The reporter adds “I remember seeing Christy at a Mystics game of Wizards game in high school, and I went up to her as a sophomore… Sixteen-year-old Ariana, like ‘can I please shadow you at some of your games?’
“So, when I was in high school, I actually shadowed Christy a couple times while she was doing color commentating.”
My baby girl, @GeorgetownWBB s @briannasccott joining in on FUN today at @WashMystics practice with Momma, @meghanmcpeak , @ArianaFreeman12 , and @HUMensBB Head Coach, @PoopeeBlakeney ‼️😅
The @WNBA tips off THIS FRIDAY!! The #Mystics will host the @nyliberty at ESA!!🥳#WNBA pic.twitter.com/Y0aBYjv0fc
— ChristyWintersScott51 (@Christy51WScott) May 16, 2023
Reporting has always been in the cards for her. When it comes to preparing herself for the season, the new sideline reporter says “I feel like it is just going to come naturally. I know the game; I played the game. I’ve played the game with Myisha Hines Allen…These are all players that I know and have studied, I’ve played against, they’ve been my role models.”
There is no doubt that Ariana has the talent and determination to tell the Mystics’ stories firsthand. She is taking on this role as a woman with knowledge in the women’s basketball realm and an affinity for women’s basketball storytelling.
Ariana is excited and ready for Mystics season, and she wants fans to know “No matter how dressed up or ‘fancy schmancy’ may look on game days, I am so down to Earth. Come say ‘Hi’, give me a high five. I feed off you guys, I feed off the energy!”