Redskins

Mystics fall 75-72 to the Silver Stars

Mystics fall 75-72 to the Silver Stars

Becky Hammon scored 22 points to lead the San Antonio Silver Stars to their 12th straight victory, 75-72 against the Washington Mystics on Tuesday night. Danielle Robinson added 16 points and Sophia Young 13 for the Silver Stars (16-5). Coming off their largest margin of victory of the season -- 42 points Sunday at Phoenix -- the Silver Stars had to fend off a late rally to beat the Mystics. "Because we won by so much against Phoenix, coming in here, I think we may have taken Washington for granted a little bit," Young said. "I don't think we brought enough energy." Crystal Langhorne had 17 points, including 11 in the final quarter, to lead Washington (5-17) on a late rally. Jasmine Thomas also scored 17 points and Monique Currie had 12. After shooting 45 percent against the Mercury, the Silver Stars missed 24 of 37 shots in the first half against the Mystics. "(Missed) some shots?" Hammon said. "(We missed) all the shots. It was rough going there. That happens. What you want to do is keep playing defense, try to stay within striking distance or maintain a little bit of a lead because you know the shooting is eventually going to come around." Leading by one point at halftime, the Silver Stars outscored Washington 26-12 in the third quarter totake a commanding lead into the fourth. "We talked about what we needed to do (in the second half)," Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said. "The main thing is San Antonio came out more focused and played with more sense of urgency in the third quarter than we did." Hammon scored 12 points in the third, opening with a 3-pointer and a driving layup to extend San Antonio's lead to 40-32. She added another 3 following a layup by Robinson to extend the Silver Stars' advantage to 47-37 with 5:23 left in the third. "When our posts sprint down to that block, it puts a lot of pressure on them because most of the time it's a guard," Hammon said. "I know I got a couple of 3s in transition, but it's because our post players ran and pulled all that defense." Washington pulled within six points late in the fourth. Currie opened the rally, hitting a jumper to cut the lead to 63-52 with 7 minutes left. Langhorne hit two jumpers to pull Washington to 67-61 with 4 minutes remaining. "I have to compliment Washington," San Antonio coach Dan Hughes said. "They just competed and they were physical and tough minded. They didn't go away. I mean, we put them down 15 points and they kept coming back." Robinson hit her second straight short jumper to give San Antonio a 71-62 edge a minute later. Robinson scored six of her points in the final 3 minutes to help the Silver Stars preserve their win streak. "Wasn't that amazing -- from a standpoint of shot-making," Hughes said of Robinson. "We moved the ball well, but if your strategy is to leave her open, she's evolving into an excellent mid-range shooter. Those were pressure shots." San Antonio's Shameka Christon stole a crosscourt pass with less than two minutes remaining on a 3-on-2 break and the Mystics trailing 71-65. Young hit one of two free throws on the next possession. Washington closed to 75-72 on Thomas' 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining, but Young was able to dribble out the clock after getting behind the defense on the ensuing inbounds. Despite going 3 for 15 to open the game, San Antonio tied the game at 9-all on a pair of free throws by Young. Post Jayne Appel had four of her game-high 10 rebounds in the first 5 minutes. Washington didn't fare much better offensively, going 3 for 13 in the first quarter. Hughes was assessed a technical foul with 3 minutes left in the first half after throwing his jacket onto the bench and had to be restrained by Young. Hughes was upset with a no call when Robinson lost the ball on a contested layup on a fastbreak. The technical sparked a pair of 3-pointers by Hammon that gave the Silver Stars a 33-27 lead. The Mystics cut the deficit on a 3-pointer by Thomas and a long jumper by Currie with 0.2 seconds left. Currie's shot was initially ruled a 3 but changed after a video review at the half. NOTES: Two bats were flying around the court at the AT&T Center before the game and during the first half. Hammon attempted to knock them down by tossing a basketball at them twice during pregame warmups. ... San Antonio F Tangela Smith appeared in her first home this year after missing the opening months following left knee surgery during the offseason.

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, October 23, six days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles, 8:30 pm, ESPN

Days until:

—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 13
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 31

Final report on injures of note:
Out
: CB Josh Norman (rib),
Questionable: OT Trent Williams (knee)CB Bashaud Breeland (knee), S Deshazor Everett (hamstring), RB Rob Kelley (ankle),
See the full injury report and analysis here

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The first time these teams met, both scored defensive touchdowns. Ryan Kerrigan got the first Redskins points on the board with a pick six of Carson Wentz in the second quarter. With a minute and a half left, Fletcher Cox wrapped up the game for his team with a 20-yard return of a very controversial fumble. The difference tonight could well be a defensive or special teams score.

—In that game, the Redskins never let the Eagles get any sort of running game going. The Eagles rushed for 54 yards, the second-lowest total for a Washington opponent this year. And they had 24 attempts (2.4 yards per) so it wasn’t as though they didn’t try. The Redskins could use another strong effort against the run this time as well.

—I examined third downs in the first look at this game a few days ago. Since then, this was bought to my attention.

Third downs could be a fatal flaw for the Redskins. The Eagles’ ability to convert third and long situations was a key to them being able to survive without much of a running game in the opener. The Redskins need to hold the Eagles to 40 percent or less on all third downs and to 25 percent or less on third and long.

—In the first meeting, the matchup of the Redskins’ offensive line and the Eagles’ defensive front went decidedly in Philly’s direction. Washington rushed for just 64 yards and Kirk Cousins was sacked four times. There were plenty of concerns about the line, especially RT Morgan Moses, who gave up two sacks, and RG Brandon Scherff, who gave up four total pressures. Those two and the unit as a whole have been better since that game. The Redskins’ front will need to win that battle this time around.

Prediction: A Week 7 game is not really a must-win when you have a winning record. There is a lot of season left to be played. But if the Redskins are going to take the next step and stay in the thick of things for the ideal playoff seeding, they need to take this one. This year in the NFL, just when everyone thinks they have things figured out something happens to flip the script. Everyone now figures that the Eagles are the best team in the NFC and perhaps the best in the NFL. They are ripe for an upset.

Redskins 24, Eagles 20

Season prediction record: 2-3

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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NHL Power Rankings: Caps off to worst start since 2013-14

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NHL Power Rankings: Caps off to worst start since 2013-14

The Caps are a .500 team through their first nine games of the 2017-18 season and that's unfamiliar territory for this team. A 4-4-1 start is Washington's worst start to a season since 2013-14 when the team 4-5-0 in what would be Adam Oates' final year as head coach.

We knew this year was not going to be a Presidents' Trophy year for the Caps after their roster turnover in the offseason led to a few holes on the team. Those holes have been evident in the season's first month of play.

CHECK OUT THIS WEEK'S NHL POWER RANKINGS HERE

A shaky defense has been made worse by an injury to Matt Niskanen that will keep him out at least until the beginning of November. That leaves the team with a top-six that includes two rookies, depends on John Carlson playing huge minutes and a 37-year-old Brooks Orpik taking on a more significant role than last season.

Depth scoring has also been an issue. Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom have combined for 19 of the teams' 27 goals. Washington needs more production from its bottom two lines and even the blue line where Christian Djoos is the only defenseman on the team to score.

It's still early in the season so there's no reason to panic.The good news is that they still have time to work on all of these issues. A 4-4-1 record is not an insurmountable hole for the team to climb out of. The bad news is that the clock is ticking.

Statistically speaking, teams that are in playoff position at Thanksgiving tend to stay there. That gives Barry Trotz and Brian MacLellan four weeks to determine the strength of the team they have and makes some tough decisions going forward regarding lines, trades and future contracts.

One thing's for sure, they will have to play better than they have thus far. See where the Caps have fallen here in this week's NHL Power Rankings.