Monday, August 15, 2005

WNBA: Connecticut Sun 80, Mystics 77 (August 14)

WAS: 14-14 (4th in East, 8.5 behind Connecticut, 2.5 behind Indiana, 1.5 behind New York, tied with Detroit)

Washington fell behind 42-30 at halftime, but put up a big comeback effort in the second half only to see it fall just short in an 80-77 loss to the first place Connecticut Sun on Sunday.

Down 19 in the latter stages of the the second half, Washington managed an astonishing 27 points over the final five minutes to close the gap to three, and with possession in the final seconds had a chance to tie the game and send it to overtime. Delisha Milton-Jones tossed up a three-pointer at the buzzer, but it rimmed out and the Mystics fell just short.

Four Mystics scored in double figures, with Charlotte Smith-Taylor leading the way with 17. Milton-Jones and Alana Beard both scored 15, and Chasity Melvin put up 13.

It wasn't enough to overcome the Sun balanced attack of six players in double figures, led by Nykesha Sales 17 points.

The win clinched a regular season conference title for the Sun, their second straight.

The Mystics face the New York Liberty on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden at 7:30.

The Mystics could have really used this win, but it's not the end of the world -- or even their season for that matter.

While the Mystics took the loss, they showed a lot of resilience in coming back from a virtually insurmountable 19-point defecit with five minutes left to come within a few inches of a buzzer-beating three-pointer to send it to extra time. While you don't want to be taking moral victories in actual losses this late in the season (there are only six games left), the team may be able to build some confidence off of the heart that they showed, which they will hopefully be able to use in their favor with their tough remaining schedule.

Detroit and New York both won this weekend, which hurts because now the Mystics are tied for the last playoff spot and any misstep would put them on the outside looking in. However, as I said after the last game, the Mystics do have a lot of control with their remaining schedule. Even though it is more difficult than New York's or Detroit's, they face New York and Detroit twice each, which gives them an opportunity to really jumpstart their playoff hopes -- or screw them up completely.

The first of these four crucial games comes Tuesday night at 7:30 against the New York Liberty at Madison Square.

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