The Washington Times - July 7, 2011, 03:34PM

The Mystics returned to Verizon Center, where they practiced today and will practice again on Friday before heading to Indiana to face the Fever on Saturday.

The Mystics are 2-7 after Tuesday’s 78-65 loss to the Chicago Sky. The Mystics are battling the injury bug, with Monique Currie, Alana Beard and Crystal Langhorne all sidelined. Currie will miss the season recovering from ACL surgery, Beard is day to day with a left foot injury and Langhorne is day to day with back stiffness. Neither Beard nor Langhorne practiced on Thursday.


The Mystics also made a roster move by releasing Joy Cheek and re-signing Kerri Gardin. Cheek was with the Mystics for a three-game stint; Gardin played an earlier three-game stint with the team.

Without Beard and Langhorne, the Mystics have to rely heavily on center Nicky Anosike, forward Marissa Coleman and guard Matee Ajavon to make up the offensive slack, and point guard Kelly Miller to keep things running as smoothly as possible.

In addition, the Mystics, who are the youngest team in the league with four rookies on the squad, are being forced to call on those rookies perhaps a little sooner than expected with so many injuries decimating the starting lineup.

Victoria Dunlap played well, and was the team’s leading scorer, in her first start in place of Langhorne in Saturday’s loss to Seattle, and Ta’Shia Phillips, Karima Christmas and Jasmine Thomas are all having to learn pretty quickly as they continue to adjust from the college game to the pro game.

Tuesday’s loss to Chicago ended a three-game game losing streak for the Sky, who are now 5-6. The Mystics have lost both matchups against the Sky, and will play them one more time at Verizon Center in August.

There were a few positives to take away from the game against the Sky:

  • The Mystics outscored the Sky in fast break points, 17-5.

  • The Mystics bench outscored the Sky bench, 21-18.

  • The Mystics matched the Sky in points in the paint with 34.

“You never feel too great after a loss, but we did some good things,” Coleman said.

“We let them [the Sky] get a lot of easy lay ups, put them on the free throw line and we were not converting on the opposite end on offense.”

“We play one half well and the other half not so well, so we just need to put a full game together. I think it’s just a trend for us,” Coleman said.

With just about one third of the season already played, the Mystics need to start reversing that trend as soon as possible. 

The Mystics and Fever tip off at 7pm from Indiana on Saturday.