Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

WNBA: Washington Begins Schedule Crunch Hosting San Antonio

By ROB KNOX (@knoxrob1)

The Washington Mystics will look to begin another winning streak when they host the San Antonio Silver Stars Wednesday night at the Verizon Center. Tip-off is 7:00 p.m.

It’ll be the second time in less than a week that the Mystics and Silver Stars will meet each other.

Washington (11-7 overall) will be looking for the same result against San Antonio (6-14) as it enjoyed in a surprisingly easy 88-53 romp over the Silver Stars last Friday at Freeman Coliseum. The Mystics will also be going for a season sweep of San Antonio for the second straight year.

For the Mystics this stretch of the schedule offers an opportunity to continue their winning ways.

It’ll be a challenge as they will play four games in six days. After a trip to Connecticut Friday, Washington returns home for games against Connecticut, Indiana and Minnesota, which has the best record in the league.

Of course, Washington’s focus will be getting back on track after dropping a tough 71-68 road decision to the Chicago Sky Sunday afternoon.

The loss ended Washington’s season-high win streak. Meanwhile, San Antonio has lost consecutive games entering Tuesday night’s road game against Connecticut.

In the loss to the Sky in which the Mystics played without Kara Lawson, rookie Natasha Cloud dished a career-best eight assists and played the entire fourth quarter with the game on the line.

Cloud handled herself like a seasoned veteran on the road while facing a hostile crowd. The Mystics committed a franchise-low five turnovers against the Sky.

Cloud has started the last six games for Washington. Following last week’s victory over Seattle, Cloud spoke briefly about the lineup change.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be in the starting lineup,” Cloud said. “However, coming off the bench or starting doesn’t matter for me. I just want to contribute in any way possible.

"The team has been playing great and hopefully we keep it going. Watching us play and seeing everybody come into their own is good. Our confidence is growing which is great because that’s what we need at this point in the season.”

The setback to the Sky is just a small bump in the road for Washington. Starting in Lawson’s place was guard Ivory Latta, who led Washington with 19 points. All-Star Emma Meesseman had 10 points. All-Star Stef Dolson and Latoya Sanders grabbed nine rebounds each for the Mystics, which held a 55-50 lead entering the fourth quarter.

The Mystics held a 68-67 lead with less than a minute remaining before Elena Delle Donne scored a tough basket to give the Sky the lead for good.

Even though the Mystics turned in a strong effort, Lawson’s absence was felt.

“She’s a captain of this team so it [missing Lawson from the lineup] affected us a lot,” Latta said. “At the same time, I think we did a pretty good job on what we needed to do. We just have to go home, regroup and get ready for Wednesday.”

Last week against San Antonio, the Mystics enjoyed a rare road romp in which they led wire-to-wire.

Four players reached double figures for the Mystics led by Kia Vaughn’s 15 points.

Behind her, Meesseman notched her third double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 boards. Dolson also added 14 points on 6-10 shooting in the victory.

Washington controlled the boards, leading to an astounding 42-25 rebounding advantage.

Additionally, the Mystics shot the ball extremely well, shooting 57.1percent overall and 60 percent from three-point range in the game.

Defensively, they limited the Silver Stars to a 34.9 shooting effort. Since the All-Star break, Tayler Hill is averaging double figures for the Mystics. She has supplied energy and scoring punch to the Mystics.

The Silver Stars have some talent on their roster led by their All-Star duo of Danielle Robinson and Kayla McBride, who leads the team in scoring (14.7 points per game). Robinson (11.2 ppg.) is one of four San Antonio players averaging double figures along with Jia Perkins (12.3) and Sophia Young-Malcolm (13.1).

Robinson, who is faster than the speed of light, has dished out 5.1 assists per game, which is third in the WNBA. Perkins scored a season-high 24 points in the Silver Stars loss to the Sparks on Sunday. During the month of July, Young-Malcom averaged 15.2 points and 5.5 rebounds.

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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