The Washington Times - July 15, 2011, 01:19PM

The Mystics will face the Phoenix Mercury tonight in the next-to-last game of their longest road trip of the season. The Mystics, 2-9, have another tough task tonight at they take on the west coast leading Mercury, 9-4.

The good news is that leading scorer Crystal Langhorne (18.1 ppg) returned to the starting lineup after missing three games with back soreness. The bad news is that Alana Beard has not played yet this season, and is still listed as day to day with a left foot injury. The reeling Mystics sure could use a healthy Beard in their lineup, but that could be awhile.


Tonight is the first of two meetings between the Mystics and the Mercury. The Mystics are on a four-game losing streak, while the Mercury are in the midst of a five-game winning streak, and lead the league in scoring at 86.8 points per game.

The Mercury are led by superstar Diana Taurasi, the league’s second-leading scorer at 19.8 points per game. Taurasi was the league’s rookie of the year in 2004, is a four-time all star, a two-time WNBA champion in 2007 and 2009, and was both the finals MVP and league MVP in 2009.

Taurasi was just announced today as a starter for this year’s all star team, and has been a starter every year she’s been in the league. Joining Taurasi in the starting lineup for the west coast all-stars are Sue Bird and Swin Cash of the Seattle Storm, rookie Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx and Candace Parker of the L.A. Sparks.

The east coast starters will be Katie Douglas and Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever, Cappie Pondexter of the N.Y. Liberty, Angel McCoughtry of the Atlanta Dream, and Tina Charles of the Connecticut Sun. Catchings was the leading vote getter for the third time in her 10-year career.

The WNBA-All-Star game will be held on Saturday July 23 in San Antonio.