- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 30, 2002

PORTLAND, Ore. The Washington Mystics headed home yesterday wondering if their top player, WNBA All-Star Chamique Holdsclaw, will be available for today's game against Charlotte at MCI Center.
Holdsclaw went down with a sprained ankle in the first half of Friday night's 72-66 loss to the Portland Fire, the second straight for the Mystics (10-4). Her status was day-to-day, although she was able to put weight on the ankle as she left the game.
The injury to Holdsclaw, whose 21.5 scoring average leads the Mystics, was another negative note on a night when Washington lost to one of the WNBA's mediocre teams. Portland (6-8) was playing without 2001 rookie of the year Jackie Stiles, but the Fire still found a way to lead by as many as 20 points in the second half.
The loss followed Thursday's 73-69 defeat to Los Angeles in a game between the teams with the two best records in the league. Portland was led by Kristin Folkl and Stacey Thomas, who had 12 points each. Coco Miller led Washington with 17 points.
The Fire's 10-point halftime lead was widened by a 14-4 run to start the second half to make it 48-28.
Washington came back, however, going on a 16-4 run to pull within 58-54 with 3:23 remaining on Stacey Dales-Schuman's lay-in.
After a Portland 3-pointer and four straight free throws, the Fire were back up by 11, but 3-pointers by Helen Luz, Miller and Vicky Bullett allowed Washington to pull with 69-66 with 28 seconds left. But two free throws by Ukari Figgs sealed the win for Portland.
Washington was in trouble from the start. Portland built a 6-0 lead before Miller scored the Mystics' first points on a fadeaway jumper with 17:12 remaining.
Miller's lay-in off a steal four minutes later gave Washington its first lead at 9-8, and the Mystics also led 15-14 before Portland started to pull away.
The Fire scored 12 straight, including a 3-pointer by Figgs followed by a Sylvia Crawley layin that made it 32-18.
Murriel Page ended Washington's 4-minute scoring drought with a jumper to make it 32-20 with 3:06 left in the first half.
Portland, which put Stiles on the injured list Friday with bursitis in her heel, led 34-24 at halftime as eight different players scored.
After playing Charlotte at home today, the Mystics hit the road again for a game against Minnesota on Wednesday night.


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