It's a modest goal to be sure, but an important one all the same: two straight wins.
The Washington Mystics haven't done it yet this season but will have a chance to change that tonight when they host the Phoenix Mercury (3-7) at MCI Center.
The Mystics (4-6) are coming off a thrilling, exhausting and, they hope, momentum-building 88-78 double-overtime victory over the Indiana Fever on Saturday night. The win was significant because Indiana is a quality opponent and a potential playoff roadblock for the Mystics in the tightly packed Eastern Conference. After losing their first three home games of the season, the Mystics have won three straight at MCI and will look to build on that streak tonight.
"Winning these home games is absolutely critical because we lost those early games at home," Mystics Coach Richie Adubato said. "We dug ourselves a hole, so now we have to not only take care of things at home but we're also going to have to go out on the road and find a way to steal some games along the line."
The Mystics are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference but only 11/2 games behind third-place Detroit. The Mystics will play at Detroit on Friday night.
After juggling lineups early in the season because of injuries, Adubato has settled on a rotation, and it appears that second-year guard Alana Beard has recovered from preseason hamstring and ankle injuries. With five games in the next 10 days, including a pair against 1-8 Charlotte, the Mystics will have a chance to move up in the standings.
According to veteran forward Charlotte Smith-Taylor, who scored eight of her 11 points in the second overtime period in the win over Indiana, this is the point in the season where the Mystics have to start playing their best basketball.
"Even though we got off to a slow start, I wasn't panicking," said Smith-Taylor, who ranks second in the WNBA in three-point field goal percentage (55.6 percent).
"I've been on a team [the 2001 Charlotte Sting] that started 1-10 and recovered to make the [WNBA] Finals, so I've seen teams bounce back after a bad start. This team has too much talent to lose some of the games we've been losing. It's just a matter of us getting a rhythm and creating some momentum."
Phoenix also got off to a bad start. It lost its first two games and is coming off a 65-54 loss at New York on Saturday. The Mercury is led by second-year guard Diana Taurasi, who was named the WNBA rookie of the year last season. Taurasi is tied for second in the WNBA in scoring with Houston's Sheryl Swoops, averaging 18.2 points per game. Taurasi, who will be making her lone appearance in Washington this season, also leads the Mercury in assists (4.0) and steals (1.9).
Mystics Note: The time of the Sunday's home game against Sacramento has been changed from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
* SUN 90, SPARKS 70: Nykesha Sales scored a season-high 26 points as Connecticut won its eighth straight game, beating host Los Angeles.
Katie Douglas added 18 points and Lindsay Whalen a season-best 16 for the Sun (8-1). Chamique Holdsclaw scored 23 and Lisa Leslie 13 for the Sparks (6-5).