- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 15, 2003

The Washington Mystics took a trip down memory lane last night — to their inaugural season in 1998, when the team went 3-27 and was blown out frequently.

This season’s Mystics are supposed to be a playoff-caliber team. Last night, they more resembled the team that posted the worst record in the history of professional basketball. Detroit forward Swin Cash scored 11 of her game-high 19 points in the second half, as the Shock bludgeoned the Mystics 93-56 before 16,589 at MCI Center.

The 37-point massacre was third most lopsided defeat in franchise history and Detroit’s 93 points were the fourth most the Mystics have allowed.

“We were an embarrassment today — we just laid down and died,” Mystics coach Marianne Stanley said. “I’m not tolerating it. We’re getting outplayed. People look like they are hungrier than we are and they’re playing harder than we are.”

With this loss, the Mystics have played every team once in the WNBA’s Eastern Conference and have gone 1-5 against their conference rivals.

Even Chamique Holdsclaw’s presence wouldn’t have made a difference in this game. Holdsclaw, the Mystics’ leading scorer (16.3 points) and the WNBA’s leading rebounder (15.0), missed her fourth game with a strained right hamstring. The Mystics have gone 1-3 with their star forward out of the lineup.

Holdsclaw said she will resume practicing tomorrow and evaluate her injury on a day-to-day basis until game time Wednesday, when the Mystics (2-5) play host to Sacramento.

The Shock (3-1) whipped the Mystics in every phase of the game. Detroit set or tied marks in 13 categories for an opponent’s season-high just seven games into the Mystics season.

“Our problems have nothing to do with Chamique,” Stanley said. “What happened out there … Chamique wouldn’t have overcome that. It was a debacle.”

The Mystics shot 30.6 percent (22 of 72) from the field, finished with just eight assists, made just over half their free throws (eight of 15) and turned the ball over 14 times.

“They are lost on offense without [Holdsclaw],” Shock coach Bill Laimbeer said. No kidding. In one 10-minute stretch of the second half, the Mystics missed 18 consecutive shots.

For the second consecutive day, the Mystics were a defensive mess. On Friday at Connecticut, the Sun erupted for 84 points.

The Mystics struggled to keep the Shock under 50 points in the first half. The Shock, who had not played in a week, took a 47-35 lead at halftime. It was easy to see why the Shock are the WNBA’s highest-scoring team (81.3 points). Detroit had 14 assists on its 15 first-half field goals.

The Mystics opened the game in a man-to-man defense but quickly went into a 2-3 zone after the Shock started getting open layups while superbly executing their half-court offense. When the Mystics went into their zone, the Shock’s sharp-shooting guards started picking the Mystics apart. The Shock made four of nine 3-pointers in the first half.

“This will be the last time you see that kind of defensive effort. It’s like, ‘Over my dead body,’” Stanley said. “It’s the ultimatum I gave my team, basically.”

In the second half, when the Shock outscored the Mystics by 25 points (46-21), the game was pretty much a layup drill. The Shock would collect a Mystics miss and one of their guards would simply release down court with little resistance from the Mystics, who also appeared to break down mentally and simply give up in this game.

Laimbeer cleared his bench with 10 minutes to go, but Detroit’s subs virtually outplayed the Mystics starters during garbage time. Detroit’s bench outscored the Mystics’ bench 37-14.

The Shock received a nice performance from rookie forward Cheryl Ford, the daughter of Utah Jazz star Karl Malone, who had 10 points with nine rebounds and three blocks. Guard Deanna Nolan contributed 16 points.

“If you get out of place, you can lose your way,” Mystics forward Asjha Jones said. “The challenge is on the table, if we don’t step up, it’s on us.”

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