- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 3, 2004

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Coach Bill Laimbeer warned the Detroit Shock that last year’s WNBA championship would make the team a target this year. So far, Laimbeer has been correct. The Washington Mystics beat Detroit 65-63 yesterday, the Shocks’ third loss in four games.

“This isn’t my worst fears come true, but it is getting close,” Laimbeer said. “This team needs to realize how hard it is going to be to win games, and make the commitment to do it. Right now, they aren’t a very good basketball team.”

Chamique Holdsclaw led Washington with 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Alana Beard added 16 points as the Mystics snapped a two-game losing streak.

“It’s a great win for us. We’ve been struggling, and we were able to win a game on the home court of the defending champions,” Holdsclaw said. “We knew they had lost two in a row, too, so it was a statement game for both teams, and we pulled it out.”

Detroit has blown second-half leads in its last three games.

“This is a point where we have to wake up and get focused on what we are doing,” Shock captain Swin Cash said. “There’s just no excuse to keep losing focus like we have done.”

Detroit led 61-59 with a minute to play, but Beard’s jumper tied the game. After a Shock miss, Holdsclaw hit two free throws to put Washington up 63-61 with 28 seconds to go.

Ruth Riley had a turnover, giving the Mystics possession. Cash then fouled Holdsclaw. She made one of two free throws, giving Washington a three-point lead with 10.7 seconds to go. Deanna Nolan missed a 3-pointer, but Cash kept the Shock alive with a putback.

Holdsclaw again hit one free throw, and Nolan missed a shot from halfcourt at the buzzer.

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