The Washington Mystics announced yesterday that they will play two games prior to their May 21 season opener at Charlotte. Washington will travel to Houston on May 5 and then play the Los Angeles Sparks at MCI Center on May 7.
"Preseason games give us the chance to gauge the progress that we have made in training camp," Mystics General Manager Linda Hargrove said in a statement released by the team. "It also gives the fans the opportunity to see the efforts of our team." . . .
The Houston Comets, who finished 13-21 last season, will be without all-star forward Tina Thompson; she is expecting her first child in May. Los Angeles, led by league most valuable player Lisa Leslie, won the Western Conference regular season championship with a 25-9 record but lost in the first round of the playoffs to Sacramento. The Sparks return to Washington on May 26 for a regular season game.
The Mystics went 17-17 last season and advanced to the playoffs, where they lost in the first round to eventual Eastern Conference champion Connecticut.
The preseason games against Houston and Los Angeles should be a good warmup for Washington, which plays seven of its first nine games against last year's playoff teams.
-- Kathy Orton