7:00 PM ET, June 29, 2007
The Washington Mystics look to carry some of their road success back home Friday night when they face the Detroit Shock, the team with the WNBA's best record.Though these teams are at opposite ends of the Eastern Conference standings, both come into this matchup having won four of their past six games.Washington (4-10) capped a 3-1 road trip with a 91-75 win at Connecticut on Tuesday as guard Alana Beard scored 16 of her 20 points in the second half.The Mystics' turnaround has come under interim coach Tree Rollins, who replaced Richie Adubato after he resigned on June 1 following an 0-4 start to the season."We are showing the league that we are competing and the teams will be ready for us," Rollins said.Rollins hopes that road success can translate to the Verizon Center, where the Mystics have lost five of six games. Only Connecticut has a worse home record at 1-6.Washington has averaged 95.3 points in the last four games, upping its conference-leading season average to 81.9.Beard and forward DeLisha Milton-Jones were the offensive catalysts during the road trip, averaging 20.8 and 19.3 points, respectively. They are Washington's top two scorers overall with Beard posting 18.5 points per game and Milton-Jones averaging 14.2.The pair combined for 34 points at Detroit on May 30, but the Mystics lost 94-79 in Adubato's last game on the bench.The Mystics, though, have won the last three meetings with the Shock (11-2) at Washington, taking two 2006 matchups by an average margin of 18 points.Detroit, the defending WNBA champion, is looking to build on its league-best 6-1 road record.The team suffered its first road loss on Saturday, 85-75 at Sacramento to end a four-game West Coast swing. The Shock followed that with a 77-74 home victory over Connecticut on Wednesday in a rematch of last season's conference finals."I told them after the game in Sacramento that this was going to happen," Shock coach Bill Laimbeer said. "It always does in the first game back from the coast. We were lethargic and we didn't play well. Luckily, we did enough to win the game."Swin Cash keyed the victory with 18 points and a season-high 13 rebounds as she moved to power forward in place of injured Cheryl Ford (sprained left knee), the league's leading rebounder at 10.0 per game.Ford's status for Friday is still uncertain after missing five of the last six contests, so Cash could see more playing time in her place. The six-year veteran is averaging 11.4 points and 6.1 rebounds in 13 games.She has averaged 16.3 points in the last four matchups with Washington, including a season-high 21 points on May 30.