Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Just Missed in Minny. Playing their second full game without leading scorer Alana Beard, and still without DeLisha Milton-Jones, the "mean and feisty" Mystics lost tonight to the Lynx, 84-74. DC came out playing well, and kept the score close during the first quarter. But they shut down early in the next period, and Minnesota threatened to break the game open with a 14-2 run that put them up 31-19. Late in that quarter, however, the Mystics battled back, with rookie Tamara James scoring the last two baskets of the half to close the gap to ten at the break (46-36). The Mystics began the second half on fire, with Nikki T and C-Rob leading DC on a 17-7 run to bring the score to 53-53. While Minny answered with a 7-0 run of its own, Nikki's and Crystal's hot hands from outside the arc kept the Mystics close at the end of the third period. But the depleted Mystics simply could not get the job done at the end, and had no answer for Seimone Augustus (the BasketCases' choice for Rookie of the Year), who led all scorers with 25.

In the Minneapolis Star Tribune "Augustus said Washington was the most physical team the Lynx had faced recently." Now, the BasketCases suspect that Coach Adubato might agree that it was a "physical" game . . . but probably not agree that the physical play was all instigated by the Mystics. In his (amazingly candid) post-game quotes, Richie has this to say:
"This was the worst-officiated game that I've ever had in this league. Thirty-one fouls to seven, okay? They shot 31 free throws, we shot seven. When it was 73-67, we had a breakaway. Coco Miller went to the basket and couldn't have got hit harder in a New York subway. She couldn't have got hit harder; she got hit over the head. They make that call, it's 73-69 -- you've got a four-point game. You can't miss that call. I'm 75 feet away, but I can't fault my team when they shoot 31 foul shots and we shoot seven, and then they win the game. First half we were down, got it back to 10. We should've been up, but we didn't get one call. Come on, 31-7. It can't be."

So, Richie, how do you really feel? *wink*

While this was a disappointing loss, the BasketCases are encouraged by the Mystics' play without their two leading scorers. There can be no question that the difference in this game was the two players in street clothes on the Mystics' bench. Although the loss of AB and Dee has clearly hurt the team in the short term, the additional playing time for Nakia and Coco and the additional "go to" responsibility for C-Rob and Chas may well pay dividends in the long run.


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