Final

Sting 73

 

Mystics 78

(15-13, 10-4 home)

    7:30 PM ET, July 30, 2006

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHA 15 19 25 1473
    WSH 15 18 22 2378

    Top Performers

    Charlotte: M. Currie 16 Pts, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

    Washington: D. Milton-Jones 26 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl

    Milton-Jones makes sure Mystics clinch playoff berth 

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- DeLisha Milton-Jones scored 22 of her career-high 26 points in the second half to help the Washington Mystics clinch the final Eastern Conference playoff berth with a 78-73 victory over the Charlotte Sting on Sunday night.

    Milton-Jones' 3-pointer gave the Mystics (15-13) a 76-70 lead with 1:28 remaining. Monique Currie's three-point play pulled the Sting to 76-73 before Nikki Teasley made two free throws in the final 56 seconds to seal the win.

    Milton-Jones shot 7-for-11 from the field and was perfect on 11 free throws in her seventh game since recovering from a left knee injury that sidelined her for 11 games. She also had nine rebounds.

    "Her heart gets big at the end of the game," Mystics coach Richie Adubato said. "Whether it's rebounding, steals or playing defense on a high scorer, whatever you need she does at the end of the game. I'm so happy to have her back."

    Teasley added 14 points and five assists, and Chasity Melvin had 12 points for Washington.

    "We want to find our niche and jell even more into the playoffs," Melvin said. "We're getting everybody back healthy. We're trying to find the same chemistry we had when we started the season."

    Currie led the Sting (8-20) with 16 points and eight rebounds. Reserve guard Kelly Mazante added 12 points and a career-high six assists.

    Washington's All-Star guard Alana Beard was ejected with 3:58 remaining in the second quarter after drawing two technical fouls from offical Michael Price for arguing a charging call. Currie drew the charge on Beard, the Mystics' leading scorer averaging 18.5 points, but Tangela Smith missed both of the technical free throws.

    Two fans also was ejected from the arena during a game that featured 52 fouls. The Sting hurt their chances by missing nine of 22 shots from the free-throw line.

    "We're sorry it was so ugly but we got it done -- we're going to the playoffs," Mystics center Nakia Sanford told fans on the loudspeaker immediately following the game.

    Milton-Jones opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back jumpers for a 59-all tie with 9:16 remaining. Her layup with 6:14 left gave Washington the lead for good at 64-63.

    "When the star player is taken out of the game, we knew that everyone else was going to pick their intensity up," Sting coach Muggsy Bogues said. "We just didn't pay attention to detail."

    Consecutive three-point plays by Mazzante and Sheri Sam gave Charlotte a 56-47 lead with 1:30 remaining in the third quarter. After three, the Sting led 59-55.

    After Beard departed with four points on 2-for-8 shooting and six rebounds, the Mystics responded with a 12-2 run and took a 31-28 lead on Melvin's three-point play with 1:14 left in the second quarter. Tammy Sutton-Brown made three of four free throws in the final 38 seconds that gave the Sting a 34-33 lead at halftime.

    Mystics forward Crystal Robinson missed the game with a potential season-ending left ankle injury sustained Saturday at Indiana.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

      Charlotte Washington
    Points 73 78
    FG Made-Attempted 28-66 (.000) 23-63 (.000)
    3P Made-Attempted 4-16 (.250) 3-15 (.200)
    FT Made-Attempted 13-22 (.000) 29-36 (.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-29 12-38
    Assists 23 16
    Turnovers 19 12
    Steals 2 10
    Blocks 7 3
    Fast Break Points 17 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 28 (0/0) 24 (3/0)