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Beard, Sanford lead Mystics past Shock

Aug 8, 2009 - 2:20 AM WASHINGTON(AP) -- Alana Beard had 15 points and six assists to lead the Washington Mystics to a 70-66 victory over the Detroit Shock on Friday night.

Monique Currie and Crystal Langhorne had three-point plays to help the Mystics (11-9) take a 69-64 lead with 1:48 remaining.

"I thought that was the biggest play of the game," Beard said of Currie's three-point play with 2:47 left. "Monique getting the ball and taking it down and getting that and one. That was a big play for us."

Nakia Sanford had 14 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes for Washington. She also drew a charge late in the game when Washington needed a defensive stop. Langhorne finished with nine rebounds.

Deanna Nolan's jumper pulled the Shock (7-11) to 69-66 with 1:30 left, but Beard made one of two free throws with 19.1 seconds left to secure the victory.

Reserve center Kara Braxton, who led the Shock with 14 points and six rebounds, missed a wide-open layup with 8 seconds remaining. Nolan added 12 points for Detroit. Taj McWilliams, who had six points and seven rebounds, also missed a tough layup attempt over Crystal Langhorne with 27 seconds left.

"That happens," McWilliams said. "Offense happens, but defense is what you make happen. We have to do what we need to do on defense. After she missed that layup, Kara Braxton had her head down, and she came back to the locker room with her head down. But she's young - she'll work through that."

The Shock lost center Cheryl Ford, who twisted her heavily braced right leg while drawing a foul while boxing out underneath the basket on Beard's missed 3-point attempt with 3:38 remaining. Substitute Olayinka Sanni made two free throws for Ford, who walked to the locker room.

"She's all right," McWilliams said. "I just talked with her and she's just sore, but it was scary. That's her first incident after two major knee surgeries."

The Mystics led 57-56 after three quarters.

Katie Smith's driving layup capped a 6-0 run and gave the Shock a 53-53 tie late in the third quarter.

Alexis Hornbuckle scored seven straight points to pull Detroit to 45-41 early in the third. Beard responded with a 3-pointer for Washington.

The Mystics, who are 10-1 when leading at halftime, closed the second quarter with an 8-0 run and led 42-34 at the break. Beard capped the spurt with a technical free after Shock coach Rick Mahorn drew the call.

The teams will meet again Tuesday night at Verizon Center.

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