- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 12, 2001

SHOCK 64, MYSTICS 52

There's nothing like kicking a team when it's down.

Playing without injured All-Starforward Chamique Holdsclaw, the Washington Mystics fell to the Detroit Shock 64-52 yesterday before a sellout crowd of 19,093 at MCI Center.

"Of course we miss her points, we miss her rebounds, but there's nothing we can do about it, so we have to play without her," said Mystics center Vicky Bullett, who had nine points, nine rebounds and four blocks. "We just didn't play well. There was no chemistry, there was no nothing, and it affected us."

Detroit center Astou Ndiaye-Diatta had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Nikki McCray led the Mystics with 12 points.

Before the game, the Shock held the WNBA's worst record. Now the Mystics (5-12) have that dubious distinction for the second time.

"I did not think the hurdle of Chamique's absence would be debilitating," Mystics coach Tom Maher said. "I thought we were going to miss her, but I did not think that we had to reinvent the wheel."

The way the Mystics played yesterday, their wheel would have come out square.

Early in both halves, Washington's players seemed to fold under the pressure of compensating for the loss of Holdsclaw's average of 16.7 points and 9.8 rebounds.

Coming out of halftime with a 29-26 deficit, the Mystics needed more than 4? minutes to get their first basket after committing two turnovers on five possessions.

"We seem to warm up with turnovers," Maher said. "I think that's due to the focus before the game and at halftime. What we're doing is focusing on the must-win situation, and that creates a little bit of anxiety and people aren't focusing on just playing."

Mystics forward Tonya Washington was perhaps most guilty of misdirecting her focus, but for an understandable reason. She was selected to start in Holdsclaw's place and responded with no points and four rebounds in 14 minutes.

"She's somebody who's so nice that she really feels the pressure of wanting to become good for everybody," Maher said. "She'd be better off if she cared less about it."

Washington, however, had just one of the Mystics' 19 total turnovers leading to 24 points for Detroit. The Mystics were able to convert only five points on the Shock's 12 turnovers.

"There's a 19-point differential in turnovers," Shock coach Greg Williams said. "That's very hard to overcome."

Notes The results of Tuesday's bone scan of Holdsclaw's right foot confirmed that the injury is a stress reaction and will require two weeks' rest, a team spokeswoman said… . The Shock played without starting guard Jae Kingi, who has a sprained right ankle… . The WNBA announced its All-Star reserves. No Mystics were added to the Eastern Conference roster, leaving McCray as the only Washington player expected to appear in Monday's game in Orlando.

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