thursday's late game

Crystal Langhorne's 27 points lead Mystics to big win over L.A. Sparks

Mystics center Crystal Langhorne, left, scored a career high 27 points in Washington's 68-53 win over the Los Angeles Sparks
Mystics center Crystal Langhorne, left, scored a career high 27 points in Washington's 68-53 win over the Los Angeles Sparks (Toni L. Sandys/the Washington Post)
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By Katie Carrera
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 26, 2010

Reprinted from yesterday's late editions

When Crystal Langhorne pulled up behind the three-point line, it appeared as if the Los Angeles Sparks wondered whether the Washington Mystics' go-to post player would even attempt the shot. What the Sparks didn't know was that Langhorne had been working on her long-range shot for just such an occasion.

After dominating Los Angeles in the paint and on the glass throughout Thursday night's contest, Langhorne recorded her first WNBA three-pointer -- a 23-foot shot with 32 seconds remaining, bringing the Verizon Center crowd to its feet. The basket -- only the third three-pointer she has attempted in the WNBA -- was the perfect icing as Langhorne posted a career-high 27 points to lead the Mystics to a 68-53 win over Los Angeles.

"I've been working on those in practice. We were up by 15 so I figured why not," Langhorne said, laughing. She also recorded a game-high 14 rebounds, two shy of her career best. "They were switching and I got a lot of advantages on the glass because it was guards trying to box me out. When there were mismatches our guards would just look for me and I got easy touches."

The victory marks the first time that Washington (8-4) has won four consecutive games since August 2007, and it gives the Mystics valuable momentum heading into its contest against Chicago (5-8) on Friday.

In the first half the Sparks (3-9) couldn't do much to stop Langhorne. The third-year forward seemed to score or haul in a rebound each time she entered the paint, whether taking advantage of smaller guards defending her on the offensive end or outrebounding post players such as Tina Thompson (six points) and Noelle Quinn (10) on the defensive end.

Through two quarters, Langhorne amassed 18 points and 10 rebounds and was the prime reason why Washington entered the break with a 38-25 edge. Her success with putbacks and patience when preparing for layups isn't flashy, but her teammates won't ever complain.

"There's a magnet in her body and there's a magnet in the basketball. We were talking about it at the half actually," joked point guard Lindsey Harding, who finished with 16 points. "She doesn't really jump much but she always winds up with the ball. But really, she just has a great nose for the ball."

Langhorne wrapped up the contest with a 10-for-14 shooting performance and a game-high five steals. Of her 14 rebounds, nine came on the defensive end.

"Especially with the away game we have coming up it's great to have a game like this to get us going," Langhorne said.

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