- The Washington Times - Friday, July 2, 2004

The battle of the “Meeks” went to Chamique Holdsclaw, and with it a 69-64 win for the Washington Mystics over the Indiana Fever.

Holdsclaw, the WNBA’s leading scorer, outscored Indiana’s Tamika Catchings by four points in a clash of former Tennessee teammates. Holdsclaw scored a game-high 25 points as the Mystics snapped a two-game losing skid before an announced crowd of 14,956 at MCI Center.

With the win, the Mystics (6-8) knocked the Fever (8-7) out of first place in the Eastern Conference. But the win wasn’t enough for the Mystics to climb out of last place in the conference.

Holdsclaw made seven of 15 shots from the floor and went 11 of 16 from the free throw line. Catchings finished with a team-high 21 points on 5-for-19 shooting.

“That’s my job. I’m the first option on the offensive end attacking the basket and not settling for the jump shot,” Holdsclaw said.

Added Catchings: “[Holdsclaw] always carries them. I don’t think this night was any different than what Chamique is capable of doing. Every night she does this, that’s why she leads the league in points and in rebounds. That team cannot win without her coming out and playing the way that she does.”

One night after losing to Connecticut for the third time this season, Mystics coach Michael Adams changed his starting lineup for the fifth time.

Adams benched forward Murriel Page and center Nakia Sanford and inserted Tamicha Jackson at point guard, moved guard Alana Beard to the wing and started veteran center Chasity Melvin.

Before last night, Jackson and Melvin were averaging 13 points a game as subs but they combined for one point and missed all eight shots they took from the floor. Page had 11 points off the bench.

Reserve center Kelly Schumacher had 17 points for the Fever.

Page hit consecutive jumpers with 2:51 remaining in the gamer to give the Mystics a 60-56 lead. Beard, who had 10 points, four rebounds and three blocks, made a jumper from the corner and a free throw in the final minute to help seal the win.

Indiana’s 32-30 halftime lead was misleading because the deficit could have been much greater if Holdsclaw had not scored 13 first-half points.

“I was really happy to see Chamique Holdsclaw take it in her hands and [drive to the basket] more,” Adams said. “She’s going to get a lot of those opportunities because it’s hard to guard her when she drives to the basket strong.”

The Fever shot 28.8 percent (21 of 73).

“We did everything right but shoot the ball,” said Fever first-year coach Brian Winters.

Notes — The Mystics waived 6-4 backup center Petra Ujhelyi on Tuesday, leaving no one on their two-player injured list. The team is going with an 11-player roster and has room to add two more. Ujhelyi, a native of Hungary, broke her right hand during training camp and opened the season on the injured list. … Connecticut Sun forward Ashjha Jones, who the Mystics drafted with the fourth overall selection in 2002, did not hold anything back when asked about her two disappointing seasons in Washington. “Man, I love winning, last year nine wins. I’m coming from UConn and I only lost nine games in four years,” Jones said of the Mystics dismal 9-25 record last season. “And to win nine games in a season was difficult. [The Sun] is more like it was in school when everyone was involved.”

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