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May 25, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Checking in on the Washington Mystics

Currie.jpgWashington coach Julie Plank isn’t falling for Seattle’s shooting woes from three-point range. The Storm leads the league in scoring (85.0 points), but is a horrid 26.7 percent from beyond the arc.
All-Star PG Sue Bird, a career 37.6 percent three-point shooter, is 4 of 16 from the range this season. Yet, Plank simply scoffs at the early numbers.
“We’re not going to take our chances,” she said. “We know Bird is a great three-point shooter and Lauren (Jackson) can shoot the three very well and Camille Little is shooting. It’s like pick your poison. We’ll be really ready for them defensively.”
The Mystics used every ounce of time available in shoot-around to prepare for the Tuesday night matchup at KeyArena. Behind the black curtain used to keep spectators out of the lower-bowl seating area to view the court, you could hear Plank giving pointers on how to defend Bird and Jackson, in particular.
Washington (3-1) is off to another solid start, but hasn’t won at KeyArena since July 2005. The teams split last season with Seattle losing at Washington when All-Star Alana Beard did not play due to an ankle injury.
Now Beard’s out after ankle surgery and the Mystics are nearly revamped. Olympian Katie Smith is in the mix and Monique Currie, who many have been waiting to have a breakout year, appears to be headed toward the offensive leadership role. Currie (pictured right by the WNBA) is averaging 18.0 points, which ranks sixth in the WNBA.
“Our team responded well,” said Plank of losing Beard. “We have different people who can score on the perimeter and Monique has stepped up. We just have to play great defense, we didn’t do that (in the lone loss) against Connecticut, and that’s what Alana gave to us.”
Seattle is looking to go 4-0 for the first time in its 11-year history. The 3-0 start ties for the franchise’s best mark first set in 2008.
“With Katie, we kind of have the same leader, just a different style,” said Washington post Chasity Melvin. “She’s not all the type vocal, just when we need it. AB was always enthusiastic and Katie is much older, so she’s got to save energy.
“No one really puts a lot of confidence in our team except us. We have that history with the Washington Mystics, we’ve gone threw a lot with the organization. We don’t have that consistency as a Seattle Storm, San Antonio or Connecticut Sun. So, people count us out at the beginning of the season, always.”
Maybe things will be different beginning Tuesday? One thing has changed, however, owner Sheila Johnson no longer claims to be a Republican. She switched her political stance to Independent after endorsing Republican Bob McDonnell for Governor of Virginia.
After he won, he declared April Confederate History Month.
“I think I’ve been thrown under the bus,” Johnson told Blacknews,com in a lengthy interview ranging from her philanthropic work to biggest fears. “It was quite an embarrassment. My husband had warned me, too. The one thing I learned from this experience is that I will never get involved in politics again on either side. I’m declaring myself an independent. I was just shocked. A group of us, including the President of Hampton University plan to meet with the Governor soon to discus it.”
Washington — G Alana Beard (ankle)
Seattle — None.



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