Wednesday, August 03, 2005

WNBA: Mystics 65, Charlotte Sting 63 (August 2)

WAS: 13-12 (3rd in East, 6 behind Connecticut, 2 behind Indiana, 0.5 ahead of New York)

After leading by 10 at the half, the Mystics found themselves clinging to a lead in the final seconds of the game last night. They pulled off a two-point win, though, and handed Charlotte their ninth straight loss.

The Mystics led most of the game, but the Sting cut the lead to three with a basket by Jia Perkins with 16.2 seconds remaining. They then fouled Chasity Melvin, who made one of two to extend the lead to four before Perkins nailed a three-pointer with 4.4 seconds left that cut the lead to one. Washington's Temeka Johnson was fouled on the inbounds play and missed one of her two free throws, but a long three-point attempt at the buzzer barely even hit the backboard and the Mystics took the victory.

Melvin led the Mystics with 17 points and seven rebounds while Alana Beard struggled, going 1-for-13 from the floor and only scoring four points.

Tangela Smith scored 25 for the Sting, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Mystics.

Washington doesn't play again until Sunday, when they have a big matchup with the Indiana Fever, who is directly ahead of them in the Eastern standings. The game is at MCI Center at 7:30 p.m.

This win was big, not only because it put the Mystics back in third place and gave them another game on fifth-place Detroit, but also because they proved that they can win when Alana Beard struggles. That could prove extremely important come the playoffs, when every game counts for so much because of the best-of-three series structure.

The Mystics are keeping their heads above water as they move toward the latter part of the season. With nine games left in the regular season, the Mystics are in third place in the East (top four in each conference make the playoffs) and would have to play two games worse than Detroit to get knocked out.

Washington is in great position for another playoff berth, barring a late-season collapse and a big run by Detroit.

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