- The Washington Times - Friday, July 26, 2002

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) Astou Ndiaye-Diatta posted her first double-double in more than a year and rookie forward Swin Cash had 17 points and eight rebounds as the Detroit Shock beat the Washington Mystics 64-58 last night.

The Shock (5-18), who shot just 28.6 percent in the first half and trailed 29-25, played strong defense in the second half and attacked the basket to pull out the victory, their fifth in the last six games at the Palace.

Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer, the one-time Detroit Pistons tough guy, said he hopes his team's victory over the Eastern Conference leader will send a message to the league.

"We're getting better, and we're a team to be reckoned with now," said Laimbeer, whose record improved to 5-8 since he replaced Greg Williams as coach. Detroit started the season 1-16.

Nonetheless, Laimbeer said he had to motivate his players at halftime.

"To make great strides in past games and then not show up in the first half was embarrassing," he said. "They all knew it and came out in the second half with a much more determined effort."

The Shock held a 45-26 rebounding advantage and outscored the Mystics 24-5 from the free throw line. The Shock sealed the victory by hitting key free throws down the stretch; Elaine Powell went 4-for-4 from the line in the final 22 seconds to give Detroit its biggest lead, the final margin.

Ndiaye-Diatta finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds her first double-double in more than a year. She had 20 points and 10 rebounds July 11, 2001, in Washington. Barb Farris had 10 points, and Powell recorded 10 points and six assists.

Vicky Bullett led the Mystics (15-8) with 15 points. She scored seven during a 9-5 run to give her team its biggest lead at 38-29, but Ndiaye-Diatta scored six and Cash scored five to spark a 20-7 run. That gave the Shock the lead at 49-45 with 8:35 left, and they led the rest of the way, scoring their final nine points from the line.

"I just think that in the end of the game we just lost energy, we had them up by eight at one point," Bullett said. "We just weren't boxing out rebounding. We gave them second-chance shots, and they took advantage of it."

The Mystics played their ninth straight game without All-Star forward Chamique Holdsclaw, who is expected to return from a severely sprained left ankle for tomorrow's home game against Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm.

Holdsclaw's return has been postponed several times in recent weeks as she and the team exercised caution while continuing to lead the Eastern Conference. The Mystics led the conference by two games June28 and now lead by 1½ games after second-place Orlando also lost last night.

"We really haven't changed much of anything [in Holdclaws absence]," Mystics coach Marianne Stanley said. "We just needed other people to step up and they didn't. We are asking people to step up in her absence. Normally, we do that, today we didn't."

Holdsclaw had averaged 19.9 points and 11.8 rebounds, both league bests, before she was injured. The Mystics have nine regular-season games remaining.

Rookie Stacey Dales-Schuman and Coco Miller each scored 11 for the Mystics, who committed 17 turnovers to the Shock's 15.


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