Silver Stars 79, Mystics 75
Heading into tonight's game, San Antonio Silver Stars Becky Hammon and Chamique Holdsclaw joked that they needed to play like it was 1999, the year both standouts entered the WNBA.
"Before the game [Hammon] was like: 'All right, we lost to New York,' when she went back to New York, 'We've got to get this one tonight. You're going to have to get vintage,'" Holdsclaw said with a laugh. The former Mystic did just that, leading the Silver Stars with 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for a 79-75 win over Washington.
It's the Mystics' third straight loss and their fifth in six games since the all-star break, a skid that has dropped them to 13-10 and fourth in the Eastern Conference behind Connecticut, which is also 13-10 but holds the tiebreaker between the franchises.
This one is a tough loss for the Mystics largely because the opportunity for a victory remained until the final seconds and Hammon's last two free throws. But they don't have much time to dwell with a game against Indiana looming tomorrow.
"It's extremely difficult right now especially with the way we started the season on such a high note and playing so well together," Mystics forward Marissa Coleman said. "Everything seemed to click, but right now we've just got to stick together and figure it out."
This wasn't a pretty game. Although the Silver Stars were balanced, the Mystics relied too heavily on only a few players for offense without their usually defensive muster. Monique Currie scored 22 points - her best output since early June - and Crystal Langhorne put up 18 but then there was a drop off as Lindsay Harding was the next highest scorer with only eight points.
"We need to get back to having four, five people in double figures and spread it out a little more," Coach Julie Plank said.
The Mystics committed 20 turnovers, falling prey to 17 steals, ultimately leading to 23 points for San Antonio. And regardless of how close the game was - there were 14 lead changes and 10 ties - Washington never took control of the contest.
When asked what's ailing them, the team points to myriad factors but one key may be that Washington can't surprise its opponents any more. After such a strong start to the season, teams aren't writing off the Mystics as they might have before. One of the places where this is most noticeable is how teams try to take Langhorne out of the game. Granted it hasn't done much to hamper her scoring but it's forced the Mystics to get a little more creative and take them out of a flow.
"I just think teams are more prepared for us," Currie said. "Teams are really taking a hard look at us and have been trying to take away things that made us successful in the first half of the season. So what we have to do is counter those attacks and be more prepared."
There were a few other changes Thursday night as Plank inserted Chasity Melvin into the starting lineup for the first time this season and rookie point guard Ashley Houts played more than 18 minutes, her most game time so far this season.
"I just wanted to change it up with the starting lineup," Plank said. "Chas is consistent, so we know what we're getting. Nakia's kind of up and down and has been. When she's high it's high and when she's low it's low. I like Nakia's energy off the bench. I feel like I can bring her in, not so much in this game but others, for Langhorne or Chasity."
As for Houts, fatigue is a factor for the Mystics and the only way to combat that is to use the entire roster. But the rookie also garnered praise from Plank.
"I don't want Lindsey playing so many minutes especially on the back-to-back games," Plank said. "But I thought Ashley played really well for not having played a lot. I think she's tough, I think she moves the ball really well, she doesn't hold it she swings it and she picks up the tempo. We need to play all nine players, that's no secret. It's wearing on us. It's wearing on a lot of teams."
Posted by: krae-kartoons | July 30, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse