Mystics Hang On for First Victory

Charles E. Sutton | 5/29/2012, 7:32 p.m.

Tulsa Nearly Overcomes a 16-Point Deficit

After an offseason full of roster changes, the revamped Washington Mystics relied on their core of established veterans to beat the Tulsa Shock 64-61, Saturday night at Verizon Center.

The nucleus of Crystal Langhorne, Monique Currie, and Matee Ajavon combined for 48 points and 19 rebounds to help the Mystics escape with their first win of the season after they almost blew a 16-point lead.

Late in third quarter, the Mystics (1-1) managed to open up a 58-43 lead. Washington stumbled at the start of the fourth quarter as it went scoreless for 6 minutes and 15 seconds. Meanwhile, the Shock narrowed the lead to 58-57 when guard Ivory Latta converted 1 of 2 free throws with 3:57 left.

The Mystics scoring drought ended when guard Dominique Canty scored on a driving layup with three minutes remaining, but Tameka Johnson countered for Tulsa to cut the lead to 60-59 with 2:44 remaining. Currie's left wing jumper and 1 of 2 free throws by Langhorne increased the margin to four with 1:36 left, and Washington escaped when Tulsa's potential tying three-pointer came after the final buzzer had sounded.

"Whew, it's a relief," Ajavon said. "A win is a win. It wasn't pretty, but we were able to pull it through."

The Mystics won despite committing 28 turnovers. Their defense limited Tulsa (0-3) to 30.5 percent shooting, and they beat the Shock on the boards, 40-27. In addition, Washington gave up just 4 of 14 three point attempts.

"Very simply, we have to make better decisions with the basketball," Mystics Coach Trudi Lacey said of her team's 28 turnovers. "Some of the turnovers are just silly. I don't know any other way to put it. We have to continue to work on that, but on the upside, I felt like our defense was very good, especially our three-point field goal percentage defense."

Latta led Tulsa with 16 points. She was the only player to score in double figures for the Shock, which got six points and five rebounds from rookie Lynetta Kizer, the University of Maryland's sixth ACC player of the year.

"It was a battle, but I'm glad that we found a way to win," said Currie, who hit 2 of 3 three-pointers and 7 of 8 free throws.