Mystical Loss for Shock
The Shock blew a 16-point lead in the second half Friday night as the last-place Washington Mystics rallied for a 65-64 victory. Washington (5-10) took the lead on a three-point play by Alana Beard with 13 seconds left, capping a 27-12 blitz in the fourth quarter. It was the Mystics’ first lead since early in the second quarter.
Beard was fouled by Shock guard Deanna Nolan, spoiling what had been a heroic performance by the 2006 WNBA Finals MVP. Nolan paced Detroit from the beginning, scoring 13 in each half for a season-high 26 points on 11-of-23 from the field. The rest of the Shock were a combined 15-of-52 (29 percent) in the game. The only other Shock player in double figures was Swin Cash, who recorded her second consecutive double-double – and fourth of the season – with 10 points and 10 rebounds. A Nolan triple at the end of the third quarter gave Detroit a 52-38 lead entering the fourth, but her potential game-winner was blocked.
From a defensive standpoint, this game should have been a success for the Shock. The Mystics were held more than 25 points under their 91.1 average over the past six games, in which they went 4-2.
The Mystics have now won four of their last five games under interim head coach Tree Rollins, whose up-tempo offense has helped the Mystics turn around their season -- and also rebound from the Shock’s 17-2 outburst to open the second quarter. The Shock seized the lead with a 27-7 quarter and settled into cruise control until the fourth.
As badly as the game ended for Detroit, it started just as poorly. For the second straight game, the Shock could only muster 13 points in the first quarter. They also turned the ball over seven times as the Mystics took a 17-13. Then the Shock put together their best quarter of the night, one they couldn’t make last long enough.
At halftime the Shock had a 24-10 advantage in point in the paint, but that quickly reversed itself in the second half. Each team finished with 30. Forward DeLisha Milton Jones scored a team-high 19 for Washington and center Nakia Bradford had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Detroit’s Kara Braxton continued her dubious streak of more fouls than points for a third straight game. She had four fouls and three points on 1-of-7 shooting.
Beard’s game-winning free throw gave her 13 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists, while her former Duke teammate, forward Monique Currie, struggled to a four-point, 1-for-8 shooting night.