Mystics-Liberty PreviewJul 29, 2009 - 5:06 PM By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN STATS Senior Writer
Washington (9-8) at New York (6-10), 7:30 p.m. EDT
After being burned by their inability to defend one WNBA All-Star, the Washington Mystics will try to fare better in containing another.
The Mystics look to snap a five-game losing streak at Madison Square Garden when they meet the New York Liberty and high-scoring Shameka Christon on Thursday night.
Playing its first road game since July 7, Washington (9-8) allowed Indiana's Katie Douglas to score a career-high 34 points as the Mystics fell 85-81 on Tuesday night. Washington let an early 10-point lead slip away and gave up 16 free-throw attempts to Douglas, Indiana's leading scorer.
"We didn't convert on critical plays," Mystics center Chasity Melvin said. "I think our lack of experience in close games is a factor. Katie Douglas getting to the free-throw line was a big factor as well."
Washington, loser of three straight road games, will try for its first win at MSG since July 8, 2004. To get that elusive victory, the Mystics will likely have to slow down Christon, who leads the Eastern Conference with 18.3 points per game.
Christon was named an All-Star for the first time in her sixth season. She is shooting 47.5 percent from the floor after topping 40 percent once in her first five years in the WNBA.
The guard scored 21 points in a 94-88 loss to Phoenix on Sunday, New York's first game since the All-Star break.
"Shameka has really come into her own in the past year," Mercury All-Star guard Diana Taurasi said. "She's probably the most confident I've seen her in a long time, and when she gets going it's tough to stop her."
Christon scored 21 in a 68-67 defeat at Washington on July 18 in the first meeting this year between the clubs. The Mystics had lost four straight to the Liberty.
Lindsey Harding had 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists in that game to lead the Mystics, who nearly blew a 16-point lead after three quarters.
New York (6-10) is coming off its worst two-game defensive stretch of the season, allowing an average of 91.0 points in consecutive home losses. The Liberty are the league's worst rebounding team, getting beaten on the boards by 5.8 per game.
One reason for New York's struggles this season has been the poor play of center Janel McCarville, who averaged 13.7 points last season. That figure is down to 10.8 this year, and she has gone 2 of 7 from the floor in three straight games, averaging 7.0 points in that span.
- WASHINGTON: 78
NEW YORK: 75
Jul 30 9:44 PM
- WASHINGTON: 34
NEW YORK: 12
End of 1st
Jul 30 8:02 PM
- Mystics acquire Hollingsworth from Liberty Apr 15
- Lynx acquire McCarville in three-team trade Mar 1
- Carson re-signs with Liberty, Smith signs as free agent Feb 26
- Atlanta picks up Thomas from Washington Feb 19
- Thibault resurfaces with Mystics Dec 18
- Bill Laimbeer appointed Liberty's coach/GM Oct 25
- Sun score final 14 points, sweep Liberty Sep 29
- League MVP Charles leads Sun to Game 1 win over Liberty Sep 28
- Mystics part ways with Lacey Sep 24
- Vandersloot leads Sky over Mystics Sep 22
- Liberty use big second half to top Shock Sep 22
- Shock win, but Liberty clinch playoff spot Sep 20