- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 19, 2005

Charlotte Smith-Taylor stepped to the foul line at the end of the first overtime of last night’s game between Indiana and Washington at MCI Center with the score tied and 3.7 seconds left. The six-year veteran, who came into the season shooting 72.6 percent from the line, promptly clanked both shots, sending the contest into a second extra session.

“You can’t go home and sleep on that one,” she later said.

Smith-Taylor should have slept easy last night after replacing the horror ending with a sweet finale. She hit a pair of game-breaking 3-pointers in the second overtime to lift the Mystics to a 88-78 win over the Fever before an announced crowd of 9,311.

The free agent from Charlotte gave Washington the lead with 3-pointer from the top of the key with 3:18 left and pushed the margin to six the next time down with another.

Smith-Taylor had been having a forgettable night with three points before missing the foul shots, but she recovered to deliver eight points and boost the Mystics.

“I started to call myself ‘911’ because [coach Richie Adubato] only calls on me in emergencies,” said Smith-Taylor, who described the second overtime as ‘redemption.’ “I was thinking I blew it.”

The power forward’s finish allowed a spectacular game by point guard Temeka Johnson to come in a victory. The 5-foot-3 rookie totaled a season- and game-high 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Johnson made nine of 11 shots, and got an assist on the go-ahead shot after she drew the defense with penetration and kicked the ball back to Smith-Taylor, who rainbowed in the three from the top of the key.

Johnson, who came in leading the league with a 6.3-assist average, sealed the win with a mid-range jumper to make it 81-73 with 1:20 left.

The Mystics (4-6) won despite being outrebounded 43-28, allowing 16 offensive rebounds and missing 13 free throws. Washington made just 62.9 percent (22 of 35) at the line and blew a seven-point lead late in regulation plus a four-point edge in the final 54 seconds.

“We like to do things the hard way,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, we won’t do things like that ever again. But we’ll take the victory any way we can.”

The win was especially important considering the Mystics would have fallen to 3-7 record by losing a fourth home game. Instead, they have momentum going into Tuesday’s home game with Phoenix.

Alana Beard added 18 points for the winners on 4-for-7 3-point shooting, and teammate DeLisha Milton-Jones contributed 17 points while limiting Indiana star Tamika Catchings.

Nonetheless, Catchings scored 20 points on six of 14 shooting and pulled down 15 rebounds for the Fever (7-4), who played their third game in four nights after winning their first two.

“They ran out of gas after awhile,” said Adubato, who told his team this was “the most important game of the season” because of playing at home, “plus going 4-6 instead of 3-7, you are catching up to .500.”

Notes — Fever reserve forward Tan White (17 points) was the NCAA Division I leading scorer last season, averaging 23.5 points. … Mystics reserve shooting guard Coco Miller played against her identical twin, Kelly Miller, the Fever’s starting point guard. The pair of 26-year-olds were on the court at the same time but did not match up against each other.

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