- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 9, 2001

SOL 42, MYSTICS 36

The Washington Mystics should stick to being community activists this basketball thing is just not working.
The home team turned in another farcical shooting performance on Fun Street. The Mystics established yet another WNBA record last night for futility.
Just when the Mystics season looked like it couldn't get any worse, it did. The Mystics shot 19.6 percent (10-for-51) from the floor in a 42-36 loss to the Miami Sol last night before an announced 16,191 at MCI Center in the lowest-scoring game in the five-year history of the WNBA.
The Mystics lost for the 20th time in 29 games and earned their third 20-loss season in four years. Asked if they are ready to throw in the towel for the final three games to enter the WNBA Draft sweepstakes for Sue Bird, Connecticut's multi-talented point guard, coach Tom Maher replied, "That is not even a consideration. Right now, we're trying to win games. We're trying to give our fans something back."
But it might be too late. One Mystics fan held aloft a hand-painted sign that had a message for the Mystics' first-year coach scrawled on both sides. One side read, "No Maher." The flip side read, "Mystics+Maher=No. 1 Draft pick bummer."
Said Maher: "It's not a matter of us taking a dive and losing games to get a better draft position or anything like that. This current makeup of the Mystics needs to be drastically overhauled. Just look at the first half."
If you insist. That first half saw the Mystics sink to a new low by shooting 14.3 percent (4-for-28). The league's previous shooting low for a game was 21.9 percent.
The Mystics' 10 field goals also tied the WNBA record for fewest in a game. Combined, the playoff-bound Sol (18-11) and the Mystics set an all-time low for the fewest points. This ugly game broke a record set July 7, when the Seattle Storm and Charlotte Sting combined for 86 points.
In last night's brickfest, the teams combined to shoot 0-for-26 from behind the 3-point arc. The Mystics were 0-for-16, with All-Star guard Nikki McCray missing all four of her 3-pointers. In her last two games, McCray is 0-for-9 from behind the arc. Last night she finished with two points.
Forward Sheri Sam missed all four of her 3-pointers for Miami but led the Sol with 15 points.
"Winning ugly is better than losing ugly a win is a win is a win," Sol coach Ron Rothstein said. "It was a struggle for both teams. I think that both teams defended well, but the offense was poorly executed. It was one of those nights. It happens from time to time."
Chamique Holdsclaw, the Mystics' All-Star forward, scored 18 points on 4-for-13 shooting. Holdsclaw padded her numbers at the free throw line, where she made 10 of 13.
After Sam's 15, the Sol got 10 points from 5-foot-3 point guard Debbie Black. Forward Elena Baranova pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.


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