Holdsclaw's parade rained on by Storm

Back from injury, she nets 32 but Mystics fall, 80-71

Pro Basketball

July 28, 2002|By Travis Haney | Travis Haney,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - Final score: Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson 46, Chamique Holdsclaw 32.

That was what the MCI Center scoreboard should have displayed following the Mystics' 80-71 loss to Seattle last night. The game was proof positive that one player can't win on her own.

In her first game since missing nine with a sprained ankle, Holdsclaw scored a career-high 32 points and added 11 rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes. She accounted for 45 percent of the Mystics' offense, hitting 11 of 25 shots, while the rest of the team went 15 of 35 from the floor.

"I thought tonight, since I was coming back, everyone might have a little extra umph," Holdsclaw said. "I can remember times when I would miss chippies and I was going in to get my own rebound. You've just got to play with that desire, that passion."

The passion of Jackson and Bird was not in question. Jackson had 25 points and 11 rebounds; Bird scored 21 points and had five assists. The pair accounted for 58 percent of the Storm's offensive production.

Jackson and Bird went on a 12-0 run by themselves with a little less than five minutes remaining to erase a seven-point deficit and stake Seattle to a 71-66 advantage with 2:39 left, a lead the Storm did not relinquish. Bird hit a three-pointer and another jump shot just inside the arc on consecutive trips down the floor to start the run. Jackson followed with a layup and a three-pointer from the top of the key. Bird closed it with a layup over Washington's Asjha Jones.

"Our big two came alive down the stretch," Seattle coach Lin Dunn said. "You let Sue Bird have just a half a look at the basket and it's money. She and Lauren just said, `Hey, we want this game and you're not going to stop us.' "

The Seattle run, which came on the heels of Holdsclaw's scoring three baskets in a little more than 90 seconds, was the epitome of the Mystics' frustration during their current losing streak. The Mystics have lost three straight and four of five, but, with eight regular-season games remaining, still hold a one-game lead in the Eastern Conference over New York.

"We have to realize down the stretch we can't be letting other players go off on us," Holdsclaw said. "We have to make a conscious effort to defend them, even though they're hot. We knew they were their go-to players. We just needed to stop them as a team."

Perhaps even more impressive than Seattle's late storm to the lead was its ability to just stay in the game early on. The Mystics exploited Seattle's 2-for-13 start from the field, scoring 11 unanswered points for a 13-2 lead with 14:03 left in the first half.

Holdsclaw scored Washington's first points.

"Her spirit lifts us up," said rookie Stacey Dales-Schuman, who had seven points in the first seven minutes of the game. "It was great to see her return, but we need to play for 40 minutes and we did not do that tonight."

Said Holdsclaw: "I wish we were on the other side of this, with a `W', but these things happen."

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