- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 27, 2005

It’s not easy to win in the WNBA when an opponent shoots 65 percent from the field. The Washington Mystics learned that the hard way at MCI Center yesterday.

Behind Sheryl Swoopes and Janeth Arcain, the Houston Comets set a franchise record for field goal percentage in a game and rolled to an easy 83-65 win in front of 16,654.

Every Comet who played shot at least 50 percent from the floor, and Swoopes showed why she is considered the best player in the league. She hit shots effortlessly and dished to open teammates, finishing with 17 points and eight assists.

“She just hit tough shots,” Mystics forward Charlotte Smith-Taylor said. “I love her game. She’s a great player, and she hasn’t missed a beat.”

Houston (13-9) followed what has been the Mystics’ formula for success this season, involving everyone on the floor on offense. Four Comets scored in double figures, including Arcain, who led all scorers with a season-high 23 points on 11-for-15 shooting.

Nothing Washington did could slow down Houston. The Mystics (11-11) even tried switching from man-to-man to zone early in the second half. But Swoopes immediately knocked down two consecutive 3-pointers to give the Comets a 10-point lead four minutes after halftime.

“We had so much patience sharing the ball,” Arcain said. “We played good defense today. They played tough, but we played together, and we shared the ball. I hit my shots today.”

The Comets started slowly but used a 14-2 run midway through the first half to pull away. The Mystics fought back throughout the game, hanging within 10 points until four minutes remained. Houston finished on a 12-6 run.

“We played good in spurts,” Mystics guard Temeka Johnson said. “We didn’t have a complete game. They have some talented players. They’re not a team you can sleep on.”

Washington stayed close through its spread offense. But in the second half, the Mystics tried to push the ball to match the efficient Comets, which resulted in multiple mistakes. The Comets turned Washington’s 11 turnovers into 16 points.

Still, four Mystics scored in double figures, and rarely used Kaayla Chones scored five points. Alana Beard led the Mystics with 16 points. Johnson had 10 assists but no points.

“What we didn’t want was uncontested or open shots,” Mystics coach Richie Adubato said. “We chart those, and we didn’t have many. They legitimately beat us. We played them well, and we couldn’t stop them.”

Notes — The Mystics placed Mactabene Amachree on the injured list with right patellofemoral syndrome and activated Tamicha Jackson. Jackson made her first appearance since June1 against New York, when she entered the game with 50 seconds left in the second half.

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