- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 10, 2004

No.1 needs a No.2.

Washington Mystics forward Chamique Holdsclaw is living up to her franchise tag as the WNBA’s leading scorer (21.3), but after six games a complementary scorer has yet to emerge.

Without a reliable second option it’s not hard to figure why the Mystics are 2-4, winless at home (0-3) and averaging just 67.5 points in a high-octane offense designed to average close to 75.

Right now, opponents are allowing Holdsclaw to get her points and shutting down her teammates. That has pretty much been the Mystics’ scenario for the past six years, and the results speak for themselves.

“It’s been up and down as far as getting consistent scoring from our No.2 scorers,” first-year coach Michael Adams said. “If we can get [guard] Coco Miller going and keep Stacey [Dales-Schuman] and Alana [Beard] there and Chasity [Melvin] getting hers, we’ll have a chance to get some balanced scoring. It hasn’t happened yet, and I think it will. We’ll just have to get some people some more shots.”

Ideally, Adams would like to see another player average 12 to 15 points. Beard, whom the Mystics selected with the second overall pick in April’s WNBA Draft, is the only other double-figures scorer at 10 points.

Beard’s scoring probably will drop now that she’s been moved to point guard. Beard was struggling with her shot on the wing, and Adams tapped her to run his offense when point guard Tamicha Jackson strained her right hamstring. The move was an attempt to keep his prized rookie’s confidence up after she shot less than 30 percent from the floor in the first four games.

Last season Miller averaged 12.5 points and Dales-Schuman 10.0, and they seemed the logical choices to become the Mystics’ secondary scorer. But Miller was benched two games ago, has taken only 26 shots all season and is averaging 3.2 points.

Dales-Schuman, who replaced Miller in the starting lineup, has taken more 3-pointers (27) than Miller has taken shots so far this season and is averaging 7.0 points on 33.3 percent shooting. Coming off the bench for the first four games was something the former Oklahoma star was not accustomed to.

“It’s a new season and new personnel — we’re all getting used to one another,” Dales-Schuman said. “I know [the coaching staff] is trying to figure out which lineups are working, who clicks together and who has chemistry together. When I wasn’t starting, I saw that I could come in and make a difference.”

Despite doing all the heavy lifting, Holdsclaw still has faith in her teammates that someone eventually will ease her burden. So far, she is averaging 18 shots.

“It would be great to have five players in double figures, but if we can just get three, that would be great for this team,” Holdsclaw said. “We can’t have two players each game in double figures and not know who those two players are going to be. It’s consistency. It’s players getting a chance to feel comfortable and accountable knowing that they have to produce.”

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