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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Samsonov gives glowing review of first experience with Caps

Samsonov gives glowing review of first experience with Caps

Caps prospect Ilya Samsonov got his first taste of Caps hockey in July as he attended development camp. Though communication was a challenge considering he doesn't speak English, it sounds as if Samsonov enjoyed his time in Washington.

"I had the most positive impressions," Samsonov said in an interview with Sports Express as translated by a native speaker. "It was interesting to see how they work overseas."

Samsonov's hockey career has been spent playing in Russia in both the KHL and MHL, the Minor Hockey League, making development camp his first taste of North American hockey. He played well and also seemed to enjoy the time he spent learning from head coach Barry Trotz.

"[Trotz] is a great coach, great guy, always positive, gives great advice," Samsonov said of the Caps' bench boss.


But don't take that to mean he will be suiting up for a game at the Verizon Center any time soon.

The 19-year-old goalie remains under contract with his KHL team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, for another two years. Samsonov has no intention of breaking that contract, but he did say both teams remain in contact.

"Capitals are not going to do anything without talking to Metallurg first," Samsonov said. "Everyone is in touch, we are working with the goaltending coach from Metallurg and his colleague from the Caps, Mitch Korn. We have not talked about the future yet, I am planning on finishing my contract with Metallurg."

While it may be some time before Samsonov signs with the Caps, Samsonov is already preparing for life in the NHL and is learning English. Though he said the process is "a work in progress" he will soon get some help form Trotz's son, Tyson, who teaches English in Russia.

"All summer we were at various training camps, but now I am going back to Magnitogorsk and will start learning the language," Samsonov said.

The Caps would no doubt love to avoid another situation like they had with Evgeny Kuznetsov who re-signed with this KHL team for two years in 2012 thus delaying his arrival in Washington. It's good then to hear that Samsonov enjoyed his brief stay and remains in contact with his fellow countrymen who are already on the team.

Said Samsonov, "All Russian Caps players seem to enjoy their life in D.C."

MORE CAPITALS: Caps assistant misses out on head coaching job in Colorado

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Cowboys fans biggest fear - Major injury strikes Tony Romo in preseason

Cowboys fans biggest fear - Major injury strikes Tony Romo in preseason

Dallas Cowboys fans had high expectations for their team this season - as long as quarterback Tony Romo could avoid injury. Three weeks into the preseason, looks like that idea is shot.

Getting the start Thursday night against the Seahawks, Romo was slammed to the turf awkwardly and looked to injure his back. Immediate reports showed that Romo felt okay, but clearly the issues persisted.

Last season, Romo broke his collarbone twice and played just four games as the Cowboys limped to a 4-12 record. The season prior Romo led the Cowboys to a 12-4 record and an NFC East title. In 2013, Romo dealt with herniated discs in his back and had a cyst removed.


Without Romo, Dallas will likely turn to rookie Dak Prescott out of Mississippi State. Prescott has looked impressive in the preseason, though it will be tough to step into the spotlight that accompanies the Cowboys quarterback.

Dallas travels to Washington in Week 2 of the regular season, so the Redskins defense can start preparing for Prescott, not Romo. 

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O'Day making progress, but no date for return

O'Day making progress, but no date for return

NEW YORK---Darren O’Day was set to come off the disabled list on Saturday. Manager Buck Showalter thinks O’Day, who was diagnosed with a right shoulder rotator cuff strain, will be back relatively soon. 

“Darren’s having a good day. [Trainer Richie Bancells] was upbeat about it. He said it’s getting better, a little bit better every day. Hopefully we’ll get him on the mound before too long. Hope to,” Showalter said.


Chris Tillman (shoulder) will throw off flat ground on Tuesday. “I think we’ll have an idea how fast that will move,” Showalter said. 

“I asked Richie today, ‘If he had no setbacks and started Tuesday, when could he pitch?’ I have an idea on that, but I’m not going to throw it out there until we get through Tuesday. If that goes through, then I’ll give you an idea of when we think he could start again. He’s not going to need two or three rehab starts. He probably won’t need any.” 

On Friday night, Caleb Joseph had an RBI single in the 14th inning in Norfolk’s win over Charlotte. 

Showalter sent Joseph a congratulatory text on his hit. Joseph had two RBIs for Norfolk. He had none in 114 at-bats for the Orioles and was sent down on Monday to work on his hitting. He’ll return to the Orioles for Friday’s game after the rosters expand.

NOTE: INF Aderlin Rodriguez was named to the Carolina League All-Star team.