- The Washington Times - Monday, July 1, 2002

Asjha Jones and Vicky Bullett to the rescue.
The youngest and oldest members of the Washington Mystics saved the team from what seemed like certain defeat on an afternoon when the Mystics learned that their best player will be shelved for a few games.
With star forward ChamiqueHoldsclaw placed on the injured list an hour before the game, Bullett made a game-saving block with 1.3 seconds left and Jones scored 14 of her career-high 16 points in the second half to lead the Mystics to a come-from-behind 56-55 victory over the Charlotte Sting before 18,372 yesterday at MCI Center.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the first-place Mystics (11-4) and extended their home record to 7-0.
With the Mystics clinging to a slim 56-55 lead, Sting point guard Dawn Staley drove down the right side of the lane and challenged the 33-year-old Bullett with time running out. Bullett stood her ground and cleanly swatted the 5-foot-6 Staley's shot to preserve the victory. Seconds earlier on the offensive end, Bullett missed an easy 2-footer that would have sealed the victory. Instead it took her 270th career block 90 feet the other way to guarantee the win.
"Defense wins games. That's what did it," said Bullett, downplaying her role in the win.
Meanwhile, Jones answered any questions about who will pick up the slack for Holdsclaw, who is out until at least next Monday with a high left ankle sprain. Jones made seven of nine shots in the second half to rally the Mystics from a 12-point halftime deficit.
When asked who is going to step up in her absence, Holdsclaw replied, "Aaaasssjjjhhhaaa. She did a tremendous job. She can definitely [step up]."
Jones, 21, had her midrange jumper working to perfection in the second half. The Sting (6-6) couldn't stop the 6-foot-2 prized rookie, who was the fourth pick overall in April's WNBA Draft.
The Sting tried defending Jones with veteran guard Andrea Stinson, but Stinson proved too slow and too small. The Sting also tried forward Charlotte Smith, but Smith, who is the niece of NBA Hall of Famer David Thompson, was too frail to handle the 198-pound Jones. The Sting played zone defense, and that didn't work, either.
"We finally saw the player we drafted," Mystics coach Marianne Stanley said of Jones. "It took her a little while to get comfortable and get in rhythm, not from a lack of effort, but in the sense she finally had a breakout game. That is what I expected for her to give us some scoring, give us some rebounding and give us some post defense, and we saw that today."
With 1:30 left in the first half, the Sting enjoyed a comfortable 36-20 lead, and it looked like the Mystics were going to get blown out of their own building. After all, the Sting handed the Mystics their worst loss of the season, 78-64 on June 19 in Charlotte.
At that point, Jones recognized the problem: The Mystics' supplementary scorers forward Stacey Dales-Schuman and guard Coco Miller were struggling. In the first half, Washington's second and third-leading scorers shot a combined 1-for-9 from the field.
"Our guards did a great job of penetrating their defense, and my player always went to help, and they found me wide open," Jones said. "It's just that simple."
Bullett, a former Maryland star, also contributed offensively for the Mystics in the second half. Bullett scored eight of her 14 points in the final 20 minutes. Bullett and Jones combined for 22 of the Mystics' 32 second-half points.
Bullett saved a big 3-pointer for the final two minutes. With the game tied 53-53, Bullett stepped back and nailed a 21-footer in the face of Sting center Tammy Sutton-Brown to give the Mystics their final points with 1:59 left. Bullett also led all players with nine rebounds.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide