During Michelle Snow's previous nine WNBA seasons, which followed a highly successful run at the University of Tennessee and winning a state championship in high school, she never experienced a losing campaign.Before entering the pro ranks this year as a rookie, Natalie Novosel was one of the headliners for a Notre Dame program that finished the 2011-12 season as National runner-ups.Just two seasons ago, second-leading scorer Monique Currie helped guide the Washington Mystics to the Eastern Conference title and a second straight playoff appearance.Those were the days - and nothing like what trio and the rest of the Mystics have endured in 2012. Well, except for Currie and the handful of others who have now suffered through a second straight trying season. With two games remaining, including the home finale Friday night against Indiana, Washington (5-27) needs to a win to match last season's total of six. Should they lose both, the Mystics will finish the season with a 13-game losing streak, and the second worst record in franchise history."It's hard to believe that just two seasons ago we won the Eastern Conference regular season," said Currie, who returned to a full-time role this season after missing nearly all of 2011 with a knee injury. Once again the DC area native is the team's second-leading scorer (11.8), but in a completely different and bummer of a scenario."This season especially has been one of the most difficult for myself. You have to take the highs with the lows. Nothing comes easily. It's a learning experience - just something I'd rather not experience again."For Snow, a 10-year veteran who signed with the Mystics as a free agent this past offseason, the barrage of defeats has been all about "life lessons.""First losing season, you see things from a totally different perspective," said the 6-foot-5 center. "You realize how hard it is to overcome some of the mental battles. You find yourself constantly trying to keep your confidence and keep your head in the right place so you can be productive and contribute to your team...It's depressing; it's hard to deal with."Crystal Langhorne, the Mystics leader in scoring, rebounding, and field goal percentage will miss the final two games with a left foot strain after sitting out Sunday's loss to New York. Washington closes out the regular season Saturday at Chicago.Washington is the only WNBA team averaging fewer than 70 points per game (69.3), ranking near the bottom in field goal and 3-point shooting. Since the returning from the Olympic break in mid-August, the Mystics have won just one game in 13 attempts with many of the losses coming in double figure fashion, twice by the Fever. The team's last victory came more than a month ago - August 19 at the Verizon Center against Chicago."I think that's been one of the toughest adjustments, the losing," said Novosel, who lost all of four games during her senior season at Notre Dame. "Getting into my mind that this isn't how the WNBA is, we're not supposed to have losing season and not to get used to that."The losing hasn't stopped, but the recent effort has improved; in its previous game, Washington led by nine points in the fourth quarter on Sunday before falling 75-68 to New York. "The greatest lesson you can have is to hold your integrity around what you're doing, always keep a positive attitude, continue to improve, continue to work," Mystics coach and general manager Trudi Lacey said. "That's exactly what we've done."While the Liberty remain in the postseason hunt, the Mystics lost that Dream for good during the current skid."It's been a difficult road all season, that's obvious," Currie said. "What hasn't changed for us is we continue to work hard although we continue to work hard, though we're kind of just playing just to finish the season because we don't have any postseason chances."Chances against the Fever (20-12), losers of three straight, perhaps hinge on whether the Mystics can conjure up memories of their 67-66 win over Indiana back on June 15. Beats thinking about the past 11 games.
NEW YORK—The conditions were deplorable. Rain fell throughout the day, but Major League Baseball was determined to play on Friday night, and the Orioles didn’t let the awful weather deter them as they moved a step closer to the postseason.
With their 8-1 win over the New York Yankees before 33,955 at Yankee Stadium, the Orioles reduced their magic number to two for clinching a postseason spot.
Toronto, which began the game tied with the Orioles (88-72) for the top wild-card spot, was playing at Boston, and Detroit, trailing by 1 ½ games was at Atlanta.
After three hitless innings by both teams, Chris Davis singled with two outs in the fourth. J.J. Hardy followed with a single, and Jonathan Schoop doubled to score two runs off Michael Pineda (6-12).
Adam Jones led off the fifth with a long home run to left field, his 29th. Hyun Soo Kim had an infield single, and after Manny Machado fouled out, Mark Trumbo hit his 47th home run to left, and the Orioles led 5-1, and Pineda was done.
James Pazos struck out Matt Wieters. Davis doubled, and Hardy walked. Jonathan Schoop hit his 25th home run of the year, a three-run homer and tied his career high with five RBIs.
Yovani Gallardo didn’t allow a hit until the fourth when Brian McCann singled with one out. Mark Teixeira’s fly ball scored Gary Sanchez with the only run for New York (83-77).
Gallardo (6-8) gave up a leadoff single to Aaron Hicks in the fifth. In six innings, he allowed one run on two hits.
It was a quantum leap from his last start here on Aug. 26 when Gallardo recorded just four outs and allowed eight runs, seven earned.
Brian Duensing pitched a spotless seventh, and Darren O’Day had a 1-2-3 eighth, and Tyler Wilson worked the ninth.
NOTES: The Orioles are the 12th team in major league Trumbo’s 47th home run ties Chris Davis (2015) for the fourth most home runs in team history. … Wade Miley (9-13, 5.40) faces Luis Severino (3-8, 5.75) on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. The six runs in the fifth were the most the Orioles scored in the fifth inning this season. … The three home run inning was the Orioles’ 10th this season, most in the majors.
The first game of the Nationals series against the Marlins started late after a nearly two-hour-long rain delay. However, before the first pitch, the Nats played a tribute to Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, whose recent death has left the entire MLB community in shock.
A video tweeted by @masnNationals shows both teams standing on the field, while the clips of Fernandez play on the video board in center field.
The Marlins twitter also shared a video of the pre-game tribute.
Gio Gonzalez, who was good friends with Fernandez and attended his funeral on Thursday, is seen with tears in his eyes, waving his hat toward the sky. Gonzalez also hung a Fernandez jersey in the Nationals' dugout prior to the game.
The Diamondbacks left a message for the Marlins in the visitor's clubhouse at Nationals Park before leaving town Thursday.
Fernandez's death is reaching even further than baseball. The Miami Hurricanes tweeted a picture of decals they added to their helmets for their game tomorrow against Georgia Tech.
It is clear that although Jose may be gone, he will always be rememered by the entire sports community.