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Langhorne scores 19 to key Mystics win

Aug 22, 2009 - 5:02 AM PHOENIX(AP) -- A successful Washington Mystics defensive plan prevented the Phoenix Mercury from clinching a playoff spot.

Crystal Langhorne scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Mystics to a 91-81 win over the Phoenix Mercury on Friday night.

"We were really trying to slow them down offensively, disrupt their sets and not let them do what they want to do," said Langhorne after her first double-double of the season.

Normally, the Mercury run the fast break and shoot 3-pointers, scoring a league-leading 92.6 points per game. On Friday, Phoenix didn't even attempt a 3 until the second quarter and missed all four of them in the final period. Washington also outrebounded the Mercury 46-26 and held Phoenix to 10 fast-break points.

"Do the math on that - they get those 20 rebounds, that takes away from our break," Mercury coach Corey Gaines said. "Blame us, 20 extra rebounds. You get the rebounds and they can't slow the game down."

Diana Taurasi had 16 points and four blocked shots to lead Phoenix (18-9), which was looking to secure a postseason berth after failing to make it last season.

"We really couldn't get on a roll," Taurasi said. "When you get outrebounded that bad it's hard to get going the other way and get good shots and make things happen for each other."

Lindsey Harding added 15 points and six assists while Alana Beard had 14 points for Washington (13-13), which had won just once in the last five games.

"We had to slow them down a little bit," Harding said. "The biggest thing that we looked at was that we scored more fast-break points than them (11-10), which is kind of amazing with a team that goes and goes. We really focused on their 3-point and wanted to take that away."

Langhorne capped a 9-1 run with a three-point play to give the Mystics an 81-71 lead with 3:01 to play. Phoenix scored the next six points but Harding hit a 3-pointer with 1:45 left to secure the win.

Washington outrebounded Phoenix 46-26 and kept the highest-scoring team in the league 11 points under its average. Taurasi was held to 5-of-14 shooting before getting ejected with 26 seconds left.

Earlier in the day, a Phoenix Municipal Court judge continued Taurasi's scheduled court appearance on drunken-driving charges to Sept. 18.

Taurasi pleaded not guilty to three charges after being arrested July 2. Blood tests showed her blood-alcohol level at 0.17 percent, more than twice Arizona's legal limit.

Tangela Smith, who is in her 12th year in the league, became the fourth WNBA player to have 2,000 rebounds and 500 blocks.

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