Defensive lapses equals mounting losses for Mystics

Defensive lapses equals mounting losses for Mystics

When youre the WNBAs lowest scoring team, succeeding on defense is a must. In the Washington Mystics last outing against Atlanta, that was so not the case. Earlier this month against their next opponent, the Mystics had similar issues when it came to allowing points. Off since Friday, the Mystics (5-18) return to action Tuesday night at Indiana, a locale they have little recent success. On August 16, Washington allowed nine 3-pointers while committing 16 turnovers compared to nine assists in an 84-66 loss to the Fever (14-8). Indiana has won four straight games in the series on its home court.Help is on the way though maybe not in time for the Fever. Washington signedWNBA veteran forward and 3-point threat Iziane Castro Marques on Sunday.Starting with the previous setback against the Fever, the Mystics have lost four of five games since returning from the Olympic break. The latest defeat, 81-69 at home against Atlanta is one of those where the final score is not a true indicator of the action. Washington committed nine of its 18 turnovers in the first quarter, trailed by double figures after every quarter and by 28 points in the third quarter. The miscues led directly to 25 points for the Dream, who also scored 40 points in the paint, many on easy buckets."If you can't take care of the ball, you can't make shots,'' said Washington's Monique Currie, who scored 14 points. "We can't get shots, we're not getting back on defense. They had a layup clinic.''Washington sits four games behind Chicago for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.Matee Ajavon scored 16 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter against the Dream, leading a rally that had the Mystics down 77-69 inside the final minute before time ran out."It was pretty tough to come back from that deficit,'' Ajavon said. That loss is pretty hard.''The addition of Castro Marques should at least make putting the ball in the basket less hard for a team averaging only 70 points per game. Signed on Sunday, the nine-year WNBA veteran averaged 10.0 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game for her career. The 6-foot forward helped Atlanta reach consecutive WNBA Finals and shot 54 percent from 3-point range during last years playoffs.Collectively this season the Mystics are shooting 30.6 percent from beyond the arc. Indiana ranks second in the WNBA at 41 percent.Castro Marques sat out the first half of the WNBA season in preparation for the Olympics, but she was kicked off the Brazilian national team for violating team rules.Currie led the Mystics with 12 points in the loss to the Fever this month. Crystal Langhorne, Washingtons leading scorer and rebounder on the season, finished with four points and three rebounds in the loss.Indiana forward Tamika Catchings posted a double-doublewith 14 points and 14 rebounds against Washington earlier this month. The Olympic gold medalist totaled 15 points and nine boards in a 67-66 loss at the Vereizon Center on June 15.

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Several key Bills are sitting out Friday's game vs. Redskins

Several key Bills are sitting out Friday's game vs. Redskins

The Redskins are using tonight’s game against the Bills to get their front-line players tuned up for their September 12 season opener against the Steelers. Bills head coach Rex Ryan apparently think many of their starters are ready to go.

The following Bills will not play tonight:

-QB Cardale Jones

-WR Kolby Listenbee

-S Corey Graham

-CB Nickell Robey-Coleman

-S Aaron Williams

-CB Stephon Gilmore

-RB LeSean McCoy

-CB Ronald Darby

-RB Mike Gillislee

-LB Preston Brown

-LB Jerry Hughes

-LT Cordy Glenn

-TE Charles Clay

-WR Marquise Goodwin

-OLB Shaq Lawson

-DT Kyle Williams

-DT Marcell Dareus

According to the depth chart given to the media, Gilmore, Aaron Williams, Brown, Hughes, and Kyle Williams are starters on defense. McCoy is their top running back and Glenn is the starting left tackle.

The Redskins are expected to play their starters through the first half. Jay Gruden said earlier this week that RB Chris Thompson, WR Jamison Crowder, and DE Chris Baker are unlikely to play. Starting RB Matt Jones also is out with an AC joint sprain he suffered a week ago against the Jets.


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Frank Howard on Ring of Honor, Bryce Harper and a potential Nats World Series

Frank Howard on Ring of Honor, Bryce Harper and a potential Nats World Series

Friday night wasn't the first time the Nationals paid tribute to Senators slugger Frank Howard. After all, it’s his likeness that is featured in one of the few statues outside of Nats Park. 

But it wasn't until a recent change in the team’s Ring of Honor criteria — which now allows for any pre-Nats/Expos D.C. great to be inducted — that Howard became eligible for recognition by the franchise.  

 “It’s a real thrill for me, it really is,” said Howard, 80, before Friday’s game against the Colorado Rockies. “It’s nice when somebody says ‘Welcome to the Ring of Honor.’”

For many longtime D.C. sports fans, Howard is one of the few vestiges of the city’s last baseball team before a 34-year gap without the game. He had his best years as a member of the Senators from 1965 to 1971, hitting 237 home runs — the most any player representing D.C. has ever hit.

On Friday, Howard didn’t delve too much into his past, instead praising the current state of D.C.’s baseball team.

“They’re not a young organization anymore,” Howard said of the Nats. “They wanted to create their own image and they should. They’ve done a beautiful job, from top to bottom.”

Howard’s impact on the game went beyond the nation’s capital. Nats manager Dusty Baker said that when he was growing up, his brother would emulate Howard, who began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“As a kid, his name was big Frank Howard, or ‘Hondo.’,” Baker recalled. “We’re playing games in the back yard and my brother was Frank Howard, and I was Tommy Davis.”

Baker would get to meet and interact with Howard over the years, calling him “the most gentle giant of a man I know.” Howard returned the favor with a few compliments of his own.  

“Dusty Baker is a quality big league player, quality big league manager,” he said. "Knows the game from A to Z and back to Z to A. He’s been very successful.”

And of course, talking to any D.C. baseball great means getting their opinion on the reigning NL MVP, Bryce Harper.

“He haven’t even begun to scratch the surface,” Howard said of the 23-year-old right fielder. “His next 10 years should be dynamite years.”

As great as Howard was for the Senators, the teams he played for in D.C. were rarely considered World Series contenders. This Nats club, on the other hand, represents a perennial threat to win it all, something Howard hopes the team will make good on someday. 

“I think it’d be great for the area,” he said. “We’ve got great fans here, and to give them a world championship ball club would be a real thrill.”

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Wright stays on as Orioles continue bullpen shuffle

USA Today Sports

Wright stays on as Orioles continue bullpen shuffle

NEW YORK—After Thursday night’s game, manager Buck Showalter indicated there could be two roster moves, one involving Logan Ondrusek, and another with Mike Wright. 

Ondrusek, who was designated for assignment off the 25-man roster, is expected to be assigned to Bowie, but Wright stays on. 

Wright faced four batters, retiring three of them, and he’s feeling strong even though he’s never pitched in back-to-back games. 

“He feels good today, and talking to him last night, we think he’s available. Ondrusek needs at least two days off,” Showalter said. 

T.J. McFarland, who missed nearly two months, is back, and Showalter said he wasn’t surprised at the length of his rehab for his left knee injury. 

“It was either do it that way—or have surgery,” Showalter said. “If you had the surgery, he’s out for the year, but doing it the way we decided to do it, we were able to get it back before the season’s over.”

The Orioles had a similar situation with Jonathan Schoop’s knee injury last year. He ended up missing 10 weeks instead of nearly the entire season. 

Showalter is relieved to have a left-handed long reliever. 

“It’s been a long road for him,” Showalter said. 

NOTES: Chris Tillman (shoulder) will throw off flat ground on Tuesday. … There is no word on Darren O’Day (shoulder). O’Day is eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday. Showalter wouldn’t project if O’Day will be ready for a rehab assignment before the minor league season ends on Sept. 5. If he’s ready after that, the Orioles may have simulated games in Sarasota, Fla. for him.