- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Washington Mystics absorbed a pounding at the hands of the Sacramento Monarchs last night at Verizon Center. However, their demoralizing defeat did not end there.

After the Monarchs’ 70-52 thrashing, Mystics president and managing partner Sheila Johnson greeted her team in the locker room with her own verbal attack.

“You could tell she was really disappointed in our performance,” Mystics forward DeLisha Milton-Jones said. “If it was embarrassing for her. It was definitely embarrassing for us.”

The Monarchs outscored the Mystics 20-4 in the fourth quarter, with Washington making just one of 20 shots. The visitors outrebounded the Mystics 50-22 on the night, including 25-5 on the offensive glass. Washington (0-2) had two offensive rebounds in the first three quarters.

Sacramento turned a 48-48 game in the third quarter into a laugher with an 18-point run, highlighted by inside dominance. The stretch spoiled an otherwise successful debut for Mystics guard Alana Beard. The All-Star, who missed the opener with a sprained left shoulder, scored 17 in her return.

But she was the only Mystics player to reach double figures.

“We have some soul-searching to do,” said Milton-Jones, who, along with center Chasity Melvin, was in foul trouble throughout the second half. “It was an absolute [butt] whooping. They annihilated us on the boards, and that’s all about effort. If you have to question our effort, that’s sad. We have to do something fast, or we will be 2-13 at the All-Star break.”

DeMya Walker and Yolanda Griffith each had 11 points and eight rebounds to lead the Monarchs (2-1), while former Georgetown forward Rebekkah Brunson came off the bench to add 10 points and eight rebounds.

The post play allowed Sacramento to overcome 36 percent shooting from the field, including 14.3 percent (2-for-14) from 3-point range.

The Mystics were playing short-handed; guard Crystal Robinson was a late scratch with a pulled hamstring. Coco Miller started in her spot.

It didn’t help that Melvin (two points, two rebounds in 24 minutes) picked up her fifth foul with 8:46 left in the third quarter and Milton-Jones (eight points and four rebounds in 28 minutes) was whistled for her fourth with 7:38 left in the third.

However, both were on the court for most of the Monarchs’ fourth-quarter blitz.

“There really was nothing I could do since I had five fouls,” said Melvin, who suggested Sacramento was allowed to play more physical than her team. “They were like, ‘Go inside. Go inside.’ That’s what they did.”

Said Mystics coach Richie Adubato: “This is probably the worst loss we have had in a long time. It will be a real test of character to see how this team comes back.”

Notes — Beard scored the game’s first points on a 3-point play after absorbing a shot to her injured shoulder while going up for a fastbreak layup. She made seven of 14 shots, including two 3-pointers.

“[The contact] was a great thing,” Beard said. “I really wasn’t thinking out there. It was in the back of my mind, but I get that contact in practice.” …

WNBA president Donna Orender and Maryland coach Brenda Frese attended the game.

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