Mystics run away from Liberty 82-55


Mystics run away from Liberty 82-55

NEW YORK (AP) -- Candice Wiggins walked around the Sept. 11 memorial earlier this year spending hours talking to people and hearing their stories.

The New York Liberty guard had her own memory from that day. Fourteen years ago, Wiggins was a sophomore in high school thousands of miles away from New York where her sister Cassandra was starting her freshman year at NYU.

"There weren't really cell phones back then and phone service was bad that day. We couldn't reach her. I remember being so scared," Wiggins said after the Liberty lost to Washington 82-55 on Friday night. "We had no idea if she had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was agonizing."

Finally Wiggins recalled, they got a call from her sister that she was OK after spending hours stuck on a subway.

"I just wanted to give her the biggest hug," Wiggins said choking up while recalling the story. "We were lucky, so many other people never got a chance to give their loved ones another hug."

The Liberty played at home Friday for the first time on Sept. 11 since the terror attacks. Before the game, a group of police officers and firemen unfurled a large flag during the national anthem which was sung by police officer Lauren Leggio.

"It really sunk in hearing that national anthem," said Liberty center Tina Charles, who grew up in Queens. "It's something special to be playing on this day for New York. I just wish we could have put on a better show."

Charles said her mom worked at the Empire State Building and she felt fortunate she couldn't fully comprehend what was happening that day. The MVP candidate said she'd probably been more scared knowing where her mom worked and how it could have been a potential target.

Washington center Kia Vaughn grew up in New York and was at school about two miles from ground zero. Word spread quickly that something had happened at the World Trade Center and the principal ushered the students into the basement. An hour later, Vaughn was making the trek home to the Bronx, walking for hours from midtown Manhattan.

"I just remember seeing so many people on the streets," Vaughn said. "It was a long walk. To be back here and playing a game is something special."

Teammate Stefanie Dolson grew up on Long Island and couldn't bring herself to watch the television this morning at the hotel. It was just too hard.

"I have a lot of memories from that day," Dolson said. "It just so emotional thinking about it."

New York got down early to Washington, which shot 70 percent from behind the 3-point arc in the first half. The Mystics (18-15) led by 13 at the half and never looked back in the second half as the Liberty (23-10) scored just seven points in the third quarter.

With the victory, Washington remained a game behind Indiana for the third seed in the Eastern Conference. A win on Sunday over Atlanta and a loss by the Fever to New York would give the Mystics the third spot.

Otherwise they'll be back in New York next Friday to play the Liberty again in the first round of the playoffs.

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:


2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:


4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:



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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

The Washington Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 122-105 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Bad matchup: Despite their poor record, there is something about this Charlotte Hornets team that gives the Wizards trouble. The Wizards lost to the Hornets (26-33) for the third time in three tries this season on Friday night and, aside from a push in the third quarter, they were never really in it.

All in all, it was a dud of a game for the Wizards who were probably due for one. They had won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall got injured. They were also coming off a huge road win the night before in Cleveland, a game that started an hour later than usual.

It was a tough turnaround and the Wizards sure looked like it. It was evident in their defense and unforced errors. They did, however, have a decent shooting night. They shot 49.4 percent from the field 16-for-17 from the free throw line.

The Wizards' second unit didn't provide a lift outside of Kelly Oubre, Jr. (11 points). Mike Scott, one of their best bench options, was held scoreless.


Ugly first half: The Wizards only trailed by 12 points at halftime, but that score was skewed by a five-point push in the final seconds. The Hornets dominated for much of the first two quarters and did so by hitting threes and forcing turnovers. Those mistakes dug the Wizards a hole they never recovered from.

The Wizards had 10 turnovers in the first half, the same amount they had in their entire game the night before. Limiting mistakes was a big reason they beat the Cavaliers, yet the script was flipped by Charlotte.

The Hornets capitalized with 23 points off those 10 first-half turnovers. The Wizards had 14 giveaways for the games that led to 28 total points. 

Charlotte was 7-for-11 from three at one point in the first half and finished 17-for-39 (43.6%) for the game. That is very uncharacteristic for the Wizards, who entered the night second in the NBA in opponents three-point percentage.

Again, though, the first half ended well as Oubre and Bradley Beal gave the Wizards a jolt in the final seconds:


Bad defense: The Wizards have played some great defense in recent weeks, but they just didn't have it on Friday night. Most surprising were the guys that hurt them most.

Dwight Howard was limited to 11 points and six rebounds and Kemba Walker didn't score his first points until the final minute of the first half. But others like Frank Kaminsky (23 points), Marvin Williams (15 points) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14 points) got pretty much anything they wanted.

For Walker, it was a tale of two halves. He was held in check by Tomas Satoransky in the first half, but broke out in the third quarter and finished with 24 points and seven rebounds. Maybe it was tired legs on the Wizards' part, but Walker just kept dribbling until he got space and once he did, he knocked down shots.

Much like Kyle Lowry did a few weeks ago, Walker made adjustments to find success against Satoransky. We haven't seen that happen much since Wall went out, but those two have given him some trouble. Both guys are considerably smaller than Satoransky and very quick. Maybe there's something to that.

Add it all up and this was one of the worst defensive games of the season for the Wizards. They allowed their most points in a game since Jan. 17 against, you guessed it, the Hornets. Only three times this year have they given up more than what they allowed on Friday.

No Sessions: The Wizards did not debut their newest player on Friday night, which was probably to be expected given Ramon Sessions has not had any practice time yet. That is part of why he didn't play, but it's also another indication that he is unlikely to play much with the Wizards. Sessions is on a 10-day contract and is not expected to supplant either Satoransky or Tim Frazier at point guard. Frazier would seem to be the guy in danger of losing minutes, but it was business as usual for him against the Hornets.

Up next: The Wizards are off Saturday before returning to action at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.