The Washington Times - June 17, 2011, 12:32PM

The Mystics are the youngest team in the WNBA with four rookies on their roster – Jasmine Thomas, Ta’Shia Phillips, Victoria Dunlap and Karima Christmas – and it’s starting to show in the team’s early season losses.

The Mystics fell to 1-3 on the year after losing another game to the Connecticut Sun, 79-71. The Sun also handed the Mystics their opening day loss on June 4. Once again, coach Trudi Lacey says you can blame it on the defense, while at the same time, understanding that for the rookies, there is still a learning curve.

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“For our rookies, the game is so fast, it happens so fast. In lot of things they are just a step behind. A lot of plays they can make in college they’re not [making] here at this level, be it a pass or a move,” Lacey said in her post game press conference.

“They’re learning and they’ve go to continue learn and to pick and choose their spots,” Lacey said.

Dunlap, the team’s first round draft pick, is coming along nicely.

“She is progressing, I thought she gave us some good minutes tonight. As you can see she’s very athletic,” Lacey said.

But ultimately, it was problems on the defensive end that led to the loss.

“We got off to a slow start. Contribute that to our lack of defensive focus and turnovers. We had 10 turnovers in the first half. Against a good offensive team you simply cannot do that,” Lacey said.

“I thought we showed a lot of heart in coming back, but again it’s a repeated pattern. We had talked about getting off to a good start and having defensive intensity coming out of the gate, and again, we didn’t do that.”

Yet again, it was a tale of two halves. 

“In the second half, we had opportunities to make some plays down the stretch, but we only shot 61 per from the free throw line and that hurt us as well,” Lacey said.

The team only had four turnovers in the second half, but putting themselves in an early hole is a pattern the team has to correct.

“It’s matter of changing our mindset and getting some stops early. When we turn the ball over, we give the other team easy baskets,” Lacey said.

“Part of it is still us getting to know each other. It’s a process of learning each other. Our chemistry is good. We need more time, more games under our belt.”

The Mystics next game is Saturday on the road against the Tulsa Shock.