- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 23, 2002

The Washington Mystics' roster is almost set. Coach Marianne Stanley has until 5 p.m. tomorrow to make one last move before she is required to submit her final 13-player roster 11 active and two injured reserve players to the WNBA's New York office.
For Stanley, it's a tough decision. The first-year coach feels she has 14 players who can play. Unfortunately, that's one too many. Given the Mystics' relative lack of height, Stanley's final cut most likely will come from the backcourt.
With the arrival Tuesday of French guard Audrey Sauret, the Mystics have seven guards in camp. Today's second and final exhibition game at the Cleveland Rockers will be the final chance for players on the bubble to prove they belong.
One of those is free agent point guard Keisha Brown. Even if Brown, who played last season in Spain, doesn't make the team, she knows she'll be playing somewhere perhaps back overseas.
"It's not necessarily about me making the team. Of course, it's important, but I just love the game of basketball, and it's still in my system after college," said Brown, who played with Mystics guard Coco Miller at Georgia. "Even when I'm sitting on the sidelines watching everybody run up and down, I just want to play."
With the exception of Tonya Washington and Annie Burgess, all of the Mystics' guards can play both backcourt spots. Washington is a swing player who can move out and play small forward. Burgess is a pure point guard.
The 5-foot-10 Brown played just six minutes in the Mystics' first exhibition game a 66-61 victory over the New York Liberty on May10 and scored two points. Stanley said Brown is making her job difficult. Brown is a solid defender and good with the ball, but does she bring another dimension the Mystics don't already have?
"From day to day, who that final person is changes," Stanley said of her last cut. "[Brown] is another one that might not be real high in some areas of the game but real high in some others. Let's put it this way: If you have six great shooters but nobody can play defense, that's not a winning formula. You need less shooters, decide on the ones you're going to keep, and then find some defenders. In that respect, I'll look at Keisha again and what she brings. Maybe if we had three just like her, she wouldn't be here."
Besides making a final roster evaluation in today's rare morning (10:30) game, Stanley will look to get Vicky Bullett, Murriel Page, Helen Luz and Burgess extended playing minutes because all played overseas and haven't worked a lot with the Mystics' prize rookies, guard Stacey Dales-Schuman and forward Asjha Jones.
Stanley will use the same starting lineup as in the first exhibition game. Dales-Schuman, the third overall pick in April's WNBA Draft, will start at point guard. Miller will be the shooting guard. Washington will be the small forward, star Chamique Holdsclaw will start at power forward and Jones will open at center.
Holdsclaw would like to see the Mystics do the little things better today against the Rockers. If there was a negative to be taken from the first exhibition in an otherwise fine performance, it was that the Mystics didn't handle the Liberty's press very well. In that game, the Mystics let a 13-point halftime lead disappear and allowed the Liberty to tie the game 40-40 after the first 8:30 of the second half.
"We just have to go out there and not get rattled," Holdsclaw said. "As a young team, we tend to get rattled. We need to improvise. If option No.1 isn't there, let's reverse it and see some poise and patience."


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