Wednesday, August 17, 2005

WNBA: New York Liberty 72, Mystics 66 (August 16)

WAS: 14-15 (4th in East, 9 behind Connecticut, 3 behind Indiana, 2.5 behind New York, tied with Detroit)

Last night, the Mystics could have taken sole possession of fourth place in the East -- which represents the final playoff spot -- and moved within a half game of third place, and it looked like it would happen after Chasity Melvin hit a layup with 44 seconds left to make it 66-64 Mystics. But the team unraveled in the final seconds, allowing New York to go on an 8-0 run, including six made free throws, to knock the Mystics down.

Now, the Mystics are 2.5 out of third place (which belongs to New York) and remains tied with Detroit for fourth.

The Liberty's Becky Hammon led all scorers with 20 points, while the Mystics used a balanced attack with five scorers in double figures (Temeka Johnson, 15; Charlotte Smith-Taylor, 14; Delisha Milton-Jones, 13; Chasity Melvin and Alana Beard, 12). However, the Mystics got no scoring out of 23 minutes from the bench, and the Liberty countered with 13 points from their bench.

Washington has now lost three games in a row to fall under .500 and into their current fourth-place deadlock with Detroit.

The Mystics play again on Thursday at 8 p.m. at Indiana in another tough matchup. Detroit gets the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday night.

That was a demoralizing loss, to say the least. Leading with 44 seconds left, the Mystics gives up eight points and get none to end up losing by six. Ouch.

At least Detroit lost to Phoenix, which keeps Detroit and Washington tied for fourth place in what is shaping up to be an epic battle for the final playoff spot with five games remaining. Although at this rate, it is looking like whichever team takes the fourth and final playoff spot in the East may end up falling bass-ackwards into it.

In the remaining five games, the Shock and Mystics face each other twice.

The Mystics could really help their cause by winning against second-place Indiana tomorrow night, as it would at least guarantee that they would still be tied with Detroit going into Sunday for the first of those two gigantic Washington-Detroit matchups. Sunday's meeting is in Detroit, with the second meeting coming the following Saturday at MCI Center.

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