3:00 PM ET, July 12, 2011
Key Arena, Seattle, WA
Injuries have plagued the Washington Mystics and Seattle Storm, but the Mystics could be getting healthier.Washington hopes to have Crystal Langhorne and Alana Beard back as it tries to avoid a fourth straight loss in a matchup with the Storm on Tuesday night.After finishing first in the Eastern Conference last year, a slew of key injuries have impaired a Mystics team that finds itself in last place.Washington (2-8) has been without Monique Currie (left knee) and Beard (left foot sprain) since the start of the season, while Langhorne (sore back) has missed the last three games. Although Currie will not play this year, Beard and Langhorne are expected to return soon.Beard has finished sitting out the required 10 games per WNBA roster hardship exemption rules, while Langhorne, who averages a team-best 18.1 points, is listed as day-to-day.Langhorne's back problems originally started to flare up earlier this month. The first game she sat out in her four-year WNBA career was a 73-63 home loss to the Storm on July 3, the first defeat of Washington's current slide.Without three of their top players, the Mystics had little success against a defensive-minded Seattle team, even if the Storm were playing without reigning MVP Lauren Jackson (hip). Seattle, first in the league in scoring defense at 70.8 points, limited Washington to 26 first-half points and 38.6 percent shooting for the game.Victoria Dunlap had a season-high 19 points -- 13.8 better than her average -- for the short-handed Mystics, who got one point from their bench.Swin Cash scored 19 points and Sue Bird added 17 as Seattle won in Washington for the first time since 2006. The Storm, 4-1 at home this year, have won five straight over the Mystics in Seattle since a 78-71 loss July 13, 2005.The Storm (6-4) are looking to build on their best offensive performance of the season after defeating Los Angeles 99-80 on Saturday. Seattle shot 54.7 percent and 9 of 17 from 3-point range, scoring a season high after entering the game averaging a league-low 69.0 points."Hopefully, we can stay on this path," coach Brian Agler said.Four Storm players finished with season highs in points, led by Cash with 26. The three-time All-Star made it a point to drive the lane."You've got to get to the rim and be aggressive," said Cash, averaging a team-best 16.4 points. "And whenever I'm doing that I think it's better for the team."Cash and Bird, averaging 18.3 points in her last three games, will look to continue carrying the offense with Jackson recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum. The Storm are 3-2 without Jackson.Washington is coming off a sloppy performance in a 68-57 loss to Indiana on Saturday, its seventh defeat in eight games.The Mystics scored seven fourth-quarter points while shooting 3 of 10 and turning the ball over nine times. They went scoreless for the final 4:53 as the Fever closed the game on a 9-0 run."We played well for three quarters," coach Trudi Lacey said. "It was about execution, and we had too many turnovers."