- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 9, 2002

ORLANDO, Fla. The Washington Mystics couldn't have been happier about their 63-51 win last night over the Orlando Miracle despite a few ugly numbers on the stat sheet.

Not only was Chamique Holdsclaw out of the lineup once again, point guard Annie Burgess, who is listed as day-to-day, did not play after straining her left calf muscle against Indiana over the weekend.

Despite the absence of two key players and the team's 24 turnovers, the Mystics (13-5) outrebounded the Miracle 37-28 and held them to 31.1 percent from the field.

The win allowed the Mystics to increase their lead in the Eastern Conference to three games over the second-place Miracle (9-7), Charlotte (9-7) and New York (10-8).

As far as coach Marianne Stanley is concerned, the Mystics are exhausted. But they won't get any rest today as they return to MCI Center for tonight's game against the Phoenix Mercury.

"I know this portion [of the schedule] is only a three-game road trip, but we've been playing six of the last seven games on the road," Stanley said. "We're just whooped. I think our play reflected that."

A bright spot was the team's improved shooting effort over its 19 of 56 performance in Saturday's 50-45 loss against Indiana. Washington was 19-for-45 last night but was 6-for-14 from behind the arc. Orlando, meanwhile, made just three 3-pointers in 20 attempts. The Mystics also made 19 of 27 free throws.

Four of the Mystics' starters scored in double digits. Coco Miller led the team with 17 points on 6-for-9 shooting.

"I think this is a really big win for our team, playing without Chamique Holdsclaw and Annie Burgess," Miller said. "Just to get a win on the road and to play a top team like Orlando goes to show how well we came together and pulled through it."

The Miracle showed some early intensity, taking a six-point lead in the first half, but the Mystics went on a 7-0 run to carry a 28-22 lead into halftime.

Washington maintained the advantage the rest of the game, extending that lead to as many as 18 points and holding Orlando scoreless from the field for nearly five minutes.

Orlando attempted a late-game comeback, pulling within nine points with about 50 seconds remaining before Washington pulled away.

The 51 points were a season-low for Orlando.

Washington is now 2-0 against the Miracle this season and won its first game in six attempts at TD Waterhouse Centre.


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