Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It Wasn't the First Time this season that a Mystics game was decided in the final seconds. And it wasn't the first time that those final seconds weren't kind to the Washington team.

Tonight in Indianapolis, the Fever notched their 9th straight home win of the season by beating the visitors, 85-81. What hurts the most about this particular loss is that the Mystics had opportunities. But a cold spell to start the final period, plus a few missed lay-ups, some unforced turnovers, a veritable deluge of Indy free-throws, and a little bad luck added up to a close-but-not-quite-night.

As they did on Sunday against the Monarchs, the Mystics got off to a fast start, "winning" the 1st quarter, 28-18. Mo Currie led the way with 8 points in the first 10 minutes. (Note to Washington Post: more articles please, about Mo's "slump." You cured her!) But the 2nd period belonged to Indy, as they erased the Mystics' entire 10-point lead and then some. At the half, the Fever led 44-41. After the break, the Fever's Katie Douglas reeled off 15 points in the 3rd period. But the Mystics managed to hold the rest of Indiana's line-up to only 4 points. And Washington's frontcourt of Melvin and Langhorne led their team to a 24-point 3rd quarter. So after 30 minutes, it was advantage Mystics, 65-63.

But the Fever don't own the WNBA's longest home win streak without good reason. They hit the Mystics with a 15-2 run to open the final period. But the Mystics, on the other hand, don't give up either. After Indy's run, the Mystics were forced to play catch-up, but still very nearly tied it up. With the clock winding down to single digits, Alana Beard drove the baseline, hit the two point lay-up with 5.8 seconds remaining in the game, to get the Mystics within 2 . . . and she was fouled! Now with so little time left on the clock, no timeouts remaining, and down by 2, AB huddled with her teammates, making sure they were ready to rebound a miss -- an intentional miss. The Mystics' only chance to tie or take the lead was to grab a missed free throw and score in those final seconds. Alana did an excellent job, hitting the iron, sending the ball bouncing away from the basket. But luck was not with Washington, as the ball was tipped into the hands of Katie Douglas. The Mystics fouled Katie, who hit both her free throws and ended up with a game-high and career-best 34 points on the night, securing the win for the Fever.

All five Mystics starters finished in double-figures. Alana led the way with 19; Mo and Chas each added 14; Lindsey had 13; and Crystal, who was scoreless at halftime, scored 11 second-half points. The Mystics outrebounded the Fever by 2, and they outshot the Fever from the field (33 FGs by the Mystics, 24 by the Fever). So how did the Fever win? Free throws! Indy went to the line for 36 attempts, making 28 -- while the Mystics took only 16 freebies, and made only 9. A 4-point difference in the final score. A 19 point difference in made FTs. That pretty much sums it up.

This was one of those coulda shoulda woulda games that -- because it came down to the wire --probably has the Mystics wishing they could have a few do-overs. If only they coulda made that lay-up, not committed that foul, woulda made that free throw . . . who knows, maybe a different outcome. But the Mystics are headed to Madison Square Garden for a Thursday game, and as they say in New York, they need to fugetaboudit now and focus on beating the Liberty. After Thursday, they can -- and indeed must -- focus again on Indy, as the Mystics host the Fever again at the Verizon Center on Sunday. Just maybe the third time against Indy will turn out to be the charm. We hope so.

Injury Report: With a little under 5 minutes remaining in the 2nd quarter, Bernice Mosby collapsed after apparently injuring her ankle. She stayed on the floor, clearly in pain, for an entire Indy possession (The Fever scored playing 5 on 4.) The Mystics called a timeout and B-Mo was helped from the floor by the Mystics' trainer, Navin Hettiarachchi. The good news is that she returned to the game in the final minute of the 4th quarter, so apparently her injury wasn't serious.


At 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of Douglas's comments in the paper this morning.

"I felt there was some contact, and I said a foul should have been called," said Douglas, in her second season with the Fever. "I got a little heated about some things going on out there, and it ignited me."

"I was in an attack mode, and my teammates were finding me," Douglas said.

Bring your attack mode here on Sunday. I really can't stand her!!

At 10:38 AM, Anonymous stevo said...

Wasn't good ole kevin there??? He's the official who granted all of Catching's wishes in the Phone Booth.

At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Stewart said...

Make sure Douglas' comments get posted on the Mystics' bulletin board, please.

At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin is the common denominator in both games - one in which Catchings was continually walked to the line and the game last night where Douglas was continually walked to the line. The free throws were the difference in last night's game. Otherwise the game was basically even (if you look at the box). No one can win games with that kind of disparity in free throw shooting. I would suggest that the Mystics be more aggressive and take the ball in more, but if they're not going to get the calls, what's the use?

Just don't let them sweep!

Go Mystics!

At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Purdue alum, I love KT Douglas except when she plays the 'Stics. She whines, she begs for fouls. The problem is when the refs listen to her... If the fouls are being called, we need to beg for them too.

The Mystics have to make sure not to make her mad. She plays REALLY well when she's mad (unlike someone like Taurasi).

At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you are walked to the charity stripe everytime you are being defended is not what I would call attack mode.

Dougles will never have that kind of game agaist the Mystics anytime in the future. I will bet on that any day. Now Catchings might have a high scoring game but, not Dougles.

Pictue that!

At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still love the way they fight to the finish. It looked like it over over two or three times and they still had a chance at the end. Have to give coach plank a lot of credit this team competes night in and night out.

At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, as well, kind of doubt "Dougles" will score much against the 'Stics on Sunday.

But someone named "Douglas" just might...


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