- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 21, 2001


INDIANAPOLIS The Washington Mystics' slim playoff hopes just got a bit slimmer.
Badly needing a victory against the Indiana Fever last night, the Mystics didn't get it as the hosts won 73-65. Not even a season-high 25 points by Nikki McCray could save Washington (5-14).
The loss left Washington in a last-place tie with Detroit with 13 games remaining.
With star Chamique Holdsclaw on the bench in street clothes for the third consecutive game with a foot injury, much of the Mystics' offensive burden fell on McCray.
Despite playing much of the second half with a sprained right ankle, the fourth-year pro came through. But other than a career-high 14 rebounds from Vicky Bullett and a career-high eight nine assists from Annie Burgess, McCray got little help.
After a jumper by McCray gave the Mystics a 65-64 lead with 4:03 remaining, Washington didn't score another point.
"It's not that we didn't get good shots," Washington coach Tom Maher said. "But it didn't help that Nikki was on one leg in the second half and [Murriel] Page was suffering from fatigue."
Meanwhile, Indiana, which went on a 25-8 run over the final 10 minutes, was led by several players who stepped up.
Reserves Angie Braziel (10 points, seven rebounds) and Stephanie McCarty (eight points, six assists) combined to score 13 points during Indiana's 16-3 run that turned a nine-point deficit into a 64-60 lead.
"We made some mistakes on the defensive end that cost us," said the Mystics' Page.
Washington regained the lead briefly as McCray, whose X-rays after the game were negative, scored five points in a row. But Washington went its next six possessions without a basket.
"Without 'Mique [Holdsclaw] and Nikki on one leg, it was tough," Maher said.
Forward Jurgita Streimikyte led Indiana with 12 points.
McCray was unstoppable in the first half, scoring 16 points and leading the Mystics to a 42-36 halftime lead. The 5-foot-11 guard scored Washington's final 14 points of the half during a 16-3 run. She took the Mystics' final six shots of the half, nailing five. The burst included a 3-pointer and a three-point play.
Notes The game was the first between Indiana coach Nell Fortner and Maher since they coached their respective countries in last year's Summer Olympics and Fortner's U.S. team defeated Maher's Australians for the gold medal… . Washington is 2-2 all-time vs. Indiana, 1-1 at Conseco Fieldhouse… . Maher said Holdsclaw will play tomorrow against the Fever at MCI Center.

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