- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Washington Mystics suffer from severe homesickness.

Though the Mystics have a 5-0 record at Verizon Center, they have yet to win a road game in three attempts, losing by an average of 12.3 points.

“It’s hard to explain because we are not a young team, so a veteran team should be able to carry that same type of intensity on the road with them,” Mystics coach Richie Adubato said. “On the road, we have had some foul trouble that we haven’t at home, and it’s been dealing with our premier players. … We have played two teams that are very, very good on their home floors. The one team that did beat us that doesn’t play great on their home floor was Charlotte.”

That 73-63 loss to the Sting on May 25 was the Mystics’ first loss of the season. The Sting scored a season-high 18 first-quarter points and capitalized on the Mystics’ foul troubles, converting a season-high 28 of 37 free throws.

“We really took away some of their strengths and didn’t let them get out and run and score all those baskets they are used to scoring at home,” Charlotte rookie Monique Currie said. “We tried to just play our pace.”

However, the Mystics continued their homecourt dominance by avenging that loss with an 87-70 victory Tuesday night, scoring a WNBA record-tying 33 points in the fourth quarter.

The teams meet again tonight at Charlotte, with both teams focusing on turnovers. In the first meeting, the Mystics had 27 of them to the Sting’s 19. But on Tuesday night, the Mystics had just 13 to the Sting’s 26.

“We cannot turn the basketball over,” Charlotte coach Muggsy Bogues said. “We had them where we wanted. The personnel doesn’t change. We just allowed them to get back into the basketball game by giving them the basketball.”

Shooting also is a concern for both teams. The Mystics have shot just 41.3 percent from the floor against Charlotte, while the Sting have made 38.1 percent against Washington.

Although Washington has failed to win on the road in nine tries since July 21, 2005, the Mystics were 3-0 vs. the Sting last season.

In tonight’s game, the Mystics might catch a break if the Sting have to play without starter Tammy Sutton-Brown (9.9 points a game), who injured her knee in the first quarter of Tuesday’s game. Bogues said he did not know if she would play tonight.

Mystics guard Alana Beard, the WNBA’s fifth-leading scorer with 20.8 points a game, will look to improve on her 18-point, four-assist outing Tuesday. League assists leader Nikki Teasley (6.9) will be feeding Beard the ball.

Adubato said he hopes the Mystics can win three out of every four home games and rise to .500 on the road.

“They beat us on their court,” Adubato said of the Sting. “They play better there like everyone else does [at home]. We have to come out of the box early. … When you go on the road, you are fighting too much of an uphill battle when you get out of the box slow.”

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