Sun 76

(26-8, 12-5 away)

Mystics 61

(18-16, 13-4 home)

    7:00 PM ET, August 18, 2006

    1 2 3 4 T
    CONN 23 17 16 2076
    WSH 19 13 16 1361

    Top Performers

    Connecticut: T. McWilliams-Franklin 10 Pts, 14 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Blk

    Washington: D. Milton-Jones 15 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Whalen of a game: All-Star leads Sun to opening win  

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Connecticut Sun used a team effort to shutdown Alana Beard and take a 1-0 lead in their Eastern Conference series against the Washington Mystics.

    All-Star guard Lindsay Whalen had a season-high 22 points and All-Star MVP Katie Douglas added 17 to lead the Sun to a 76-61 victory over the Mystics on Friday night.

    "Alana's obviously an explosive offensive player and I was just trying to give her different looks," said Douglas, who limited Beard, the league's sixth-leading scorer averaging 19.2 points, to nine points on 3-for-15 shooting. "I think it was just one of those shooter's nights where she couldn't get in a rhythm. If you miss your first couple of shots it kind of gets in the back of your mind.

    "But that was definitely my number one assignment tonight, just to give her different looks. I'm not going to stop her but just get her off balance and off rhythm. ... If I got beat, I knew that Margo [Dydek], Taj [McWilliams-Franklin], Asjha [Jones] or somebody behind me was going to step up and help."

    Whatever Douglas did worked against Beard, who refused to credit her All-Star counterpart's defense.

    "Katie didn't guard me," Beard said. "It wasn't a matter of Katie's defense. If anything it was great team defense. I would never give all credit to Katie, I'm sorry. It was just a matter of me having an off night. I missed shots, rushed shots, and that's what happened."

    Game 2 is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Mohegan Sun Arena, home of the two-time defending Eastern Conference champion Sun. The Mystics have not won at Connecticut since 2003, the year the Sun relocated from Orlando.

    Former Mystics forward Jones had 11 points and five rebounds as the Sun (27-8) snapped a two-game losing streak. Dydek had 12 points and McWilliams-Franklin added 10 points and 14 rebounds.

    "The only disappointing thing was our turnovers," coach Mike Thibault said of the Sun's 17 turnovers, including seven by Douglas. "Other than that, I don't think you could ask for a better start."

    Douglas' steal and pull-up jumper during a 9-2 run gave the Sun a 65-57 lead with 4:48 left.

    DeLisha Milton-Jones had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Mystics, whose five-game home winning streak ended. Reserve guard Coco Miller matched her season-high 12 points.

    Beard missed all eight of her shots from the field in the first half. Her first field goal came with 6:41 remaining in the third quarter.

    "We needed performances, especially from our star players," Mystics coach Richie Adubato said. "Coco Miller came in and was a bright spot for us and so was Crystal Robinson [8 points, 4 assists]. They were playing real well off the bench, but your stars have got to perform and they just had bad games tonight."

    Dydek's layup gave the Sun a 54-40 lead with 3:43 remaining in the third quarter.

    The Mystics closed the period with an 8-2 run, capped by Miller's 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds left, and trailed 56-48 after three.

    Douglas made consecutive 3-pointers from opposite corners that gave Connecticut a 38-31 lead with 2:00 remaining in the half. Whalen scored 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting in the first half.

    The Sun led 40-32 at halftime.

    Milton-Jones scored five points as the Mystics took a 9-2 lead in the game's opening two minutes. Whalen countered with a layup and back-to-back 3-pointers that pulled the Sun within 11-10.

    Jones scored seven of Connecticut's final 11 points of the period and the Sun led 23-19 after one quarter.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

      Connecticut Washington
    Points 76 61
    FG Made-Attempted 33-68 (.000) 25-70 (.000)
    3P Made-Attempted 7-22 (.318) 4-20 (.200)
    FT Made-Attempted 3-7 (.000) 7-16 (.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-40 12-32
    Assists 19 17
    Turnovers 17 11
    Steals 5 9
    Blocks 6 2
    Fast Break Points 7 9
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 15 (0/0) 15 (1/0)