- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 18, 2002

CHARLOTTE, N.C. The Washington Mystics drafted the correct Miller twin last year, and have a WNBA playoff series victory as proof.
The Mystics eliminated the Charlotte Sting 62-59 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals yesterday at Charlotte Coliseum as Washington's Coco Miller, twin of Sting reserve guard Kelly Miller, scored 17 of the Mystics' 27 second-half points, including the final seven.
Her two free throws with 8.3 seconds left ended the scoring as Allison Feaster's potential tying 3-pointer with one second left missed and bounced out of bounds.
Washington, which hadn't had a playoff victory in its five seasons, swept the best-of-3 series, and will play the New York-Indiana winner in the conference final starting Thursday at a site to be determined.
"At the end, I saw a lot of shot opportunities," said Miller, the No.9 pick two seasons ago (sister Kelly was No.2). "I didn't second-guess passing them up."
She scored a game-high 21 points, including three 3-pointers. Chamique Holdsclaw had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Stacey Dales-Schuman scored 12, all on 3-pointers.
Washington surged in the final five minutes to erase Charlotte's 53-48 lead.
Miller, named the WNBA's most improved player last Thursday, hit a 3-pointer with 2:42 left for a 58-57 lead. Her 14-foot jumper made it 60-57 with 2:14 left.
Charlotte cut the lead to 60-59 on Charlotte Smith's two free throws with one minute left and had a chance to go ahead after Washington's Annie Burgess traveled with 35 seconds left.
The Mystics, unfazed by the loud and hostile crowd, then made two key defensive plays.
Dales-Schuman deflected a pass that Holdsclaw snagged with 12 seconds left. She fed Miller, who was fouled, and made two free throws.
The Sting, needing a 3-pointer to tie, turned to Feaster, who led the WNBA with 79 3-point baskets in the regular season. She was hounded by two Mystics and didn't get a clear look before her shot missed.
"There's more to come for us, but this feels good," Holdsclaw said. "We had a bunch of deflections, 20 assists and made our second chances count when we got the offensive rebounds."
Over the final six minutes, the Sting were just 1-for-5 from the field and had two turnovers.
"You have to get into the passing lanes and get out on the shots," Mystics coach Marianne Stanley said. "I thought we did a great job throughout."
Miller consistently slithered through Charlotte's 2-3 zone and drilled jumpers. She had 33 points in the series.
Her stunning shooting in the final minutes came in front of a crowd that included Mystics' player personnel consultant Pat Summitt, N.C. State coach Kay Yow and TV analyst Carolyn Peck, who won an NCAA title at Purdue. What they saw was a vibrant Washington team that dismissed Charlotte from the playoffs with solid defense and crisp passing.
The Mystics danced a group jig near Charlotte's bench afterward while Sting players offered hollow waves to the home fans.
"We were ready for them defensively on that last play," Mystics forward Vicky Bullett said. "We knew we had to get off to a good start [Washington led 9-0]. We did, and it got our confidence going."

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