Thinning Out Mystics' Roster Won't Be Easy, Adubato Says

By Jon Gallo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 8, 2006

Washington Mystics Coach Richie Adubato said his team's performance during an 89-81 victory over San Antonio in a preseason game on Saturday in Wichita has made it more difficult to determine which players will make the final roster.

"I thought overall, we played very well as a team and that's going to make us take another look at some players," Adubato said yesterday. "There are going to be some very, very tough decisions that need to be made."

Adubato said he will likely cut two players before the final preseason game against Houston at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Verizon Center. The biggest battle is at backup point guard behind starter Nikki Teasley, who arrived Saturday in Washington and is expected to practice today.

Adubato said he will choose either Rita Williams, a former all-star signed to a training camp contract after her performance at the team's open tryout last month, or Nikki Blue, who was selected in the second round (19th overall) in last month's draft.

Although Blue had seven points and a game-high seven assists against the Silver Stars and, Williams had six points and a game-high four blocked shots, the Mystics "will not take three point guards," Adubato said.

Guards Alana Beard, Laurie Koehn, Coco Miller and Teasley are almost certain to make the team, as are forwards DeLisha Milton-Jones, Crystal Robinson, Latasha Byears and center Chasity Melvin, Adubato said.

Five forwards -- Tamara James, the team's first-round draft pick, Kaayla Chones, Nakia Sanford, Aiysha Smith and Aya Traore -- are contending for the final three spots, Adubato said. The final roster is due to the WNBA league office on May 19, four days before the Mystics open their season at Verizon Center against the New York Liberty.

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