If the Washington Mystics are able to defeat the Cleveland Rockers today at Gund Arena and Sunday at MCI Center, they probably will have to do it without forward Shalonda Enis, who has the flu and didn't play in the team's 72-68 win over Orlando Thursday night. She didn't travel with the team yesterday, but may try to meet up with the team in Cleveland today.
Cleveland (6-19) hasn't lost to the Mystics (8-17) all season, and the Rockers' first win of the season and first road win came against Washington.
The last time the Mystics played Cleveland, on July 21 at MCI Center, the Rockers shot a WNBA-record 63.2 percent from the field in an 85-68 victory. The Mystics, who at one time trailed by 26 points in that game, were grim after the loss. "It was one of our lowest points of the season," Mystics Coach Nancy Darsch said.
As the Mystics try to win their third straight game, they're hoping to put those losses behind them.
"It's a question of psychologically . . . being able to beat a team," Darsch said. "We would like at least a split with them. You don't want anyone to own [us]."
The loss to Cleveland also brought some sharp opinions from the Rockers' locker room, mostly from guard Michelle Edwards, who said that the Mystics didn't play as a team. "They have two players that do their own thing, and you really don't have to defend five people," she said.
Edwards was referring to Chamique Holdsclaw and Nikki McCray, who each scored 24 points in Washington's win over Orlando. Holdsclaw played 38 minutes, hitting 10 of 16 shots and collecting a team-high nine rebounds despite double-teams and a broken left index finger. McCray, with a dislocated left ring finger, made 3 of 7 three-pointers.
But as impressive as individual play has been, Darsch said that Holdsclaw and McCray need to involve their teammates as much as possible, even if it's just to take pressure off themselves.
"I've told them all year that we have to be willing to hit open people," Darsch said. ". . . Cleveland is going to be tough and physical against us and [Holdsclaw and McCray] need to keep spreading the ball for us to keep as much balance as we can on offense."
Data: vs. Cleveland Rockers
Where: Gund Arena
When: 4 p.m.
TV: WRC-4, WBAL-11
Records: Mystics 8-17, Rockers 6-19
Injuries: Mystics F Shalonda Enis (flu) is doubtful. G-F Penny Moore (shoulder) is on the injured list. Rockers G Suzie McConnell Serio (broken left foot) is on the injured list.