Long after her teammates had left the floor following Thursday afternoon’s practice, Washington Mystics guard Matee Ajavon was still on the court at Verizon Center, putting up shots with assistant coach Awvee Storey.
It was Ajavon who made a three-pointer to put the Mystics up 67-66 with just more than four minutes remaining Tuesday night against the Connecticut Sun, but it was also Ajavon who left the court shaking her head after missing a three-pointer that would have tied the game with less that half a minute left in a game that finished a 77-70 loss for Washington.
The fourth-year guard said that while her extra shooting session following practice had little to do with her shooting down the stretch Tuesday, she was working to make sure she would be in rhythm Friday night against the Los Angeles Sparks.
“I’m not so much worried about that,” Ajavon said of her team’s struggles down the stretch Tuesday. “If the shots [late in the game] are presented to me, I’ll take them. I just want to be ready.”
The Mystics will look to rebound against the Sparks and snap a six-game losing streak that dates back to Aug. 21. The matchup is the first between the two teams since June 18 in Los Angeles, where the Mystics allowed the most points they have all season in a 101-70 loss. Six Sparks players scored in double figures in that game, including forward Nneka Ogwumike, who poured in 24, and rookie center Jantel Lavender, who scored a season-high 16.
Between Tuesday’s close loss and the Mystics’ last game against Los Angeles nearly three months ago, Mystics forward Crystal Langhorne said Friday’s game provided an opportunity for some late-season redemption.
“I know last time we played L.A. we didn’t play well at all at their place. I think a lot of people have a lot of motivation to come out tomorrow and play well against them,” Langhorne said. “It’s tough losing a game like that, and it just fires people up to come out and play harder the next game.”