Mystics can't weather Storm

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Mystics can't weather Storm

Ann Wauters had 14 points and seven rebounds to help the Seattle Storm beat the Washington Mystics 72-55 on Sunday for their fourth consecutive victory after a 1-7 start. Sue Bird added 14 points, five assists and four rebounds for the Storm (5-7). Crystal Langhorne led Washington (2-8) with 21 points. Matee Ajavon added 11, and Noelle Quinn had 10. Seattle never trailed again after Bird hit a free throw to put the Storm up 10-9 with 4:35 remaining in the first quarter. Bird threw a no-look pass in the fourth quarter that a rolling Ewelina Kobryn put in while being fouled. Kobryn's made free throw put the Storm in front 64-46 and ended doubt about the result. Bird hit a jumper to close the third quarter and push Seattle in front 52-37. The Mystics' 17 third-quarter points almost matched their 20-point output in the first half. But, it still wasn't enough to get back into the game. Seattle led 31-20 at the half after an efficient second quarter during which it shot 54.5 percent. Washington's 20 points were the fewest Seattle allowed in a half this season. The Mystics scored just nine points in the second period, shooting 4 for 19 from the field. The Storm played zone for a portion of the quarter, which forced the Mystics' offense to become stagnant. Washington shot several deep jump shots with little time remaining on the shot clock. A 3-pointer from Bird and a layup by Camille Little pushed the Storm in front 28-18 in the second quarter, forcing a Washington timeout. Seattle called a timeout with 6:17 left in the first quarter to discuss the dysfunction that led to an early 7-2 lead for the Mystics. A 13-2 Storm run followed. Wauters hit a jumper, Little drove and scored, and Bird hit a 3-pointer. The blitz continued when Tina Thompson scored in the lane and rookie Shekinna Stricklen hit a jumper. Washington stopped the onslaught with a jumper from Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton. Seattle led 15-11 at the end of the first quarter. Former Storm player Ashley Robinson returned to Seattle for the first time since being traded to Washington in the offseason. Robinson received a nice ovation when she checked in with 6:45 remaining in the second quarter and scored two points in just four minutes on the floor.

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Caps getting goals from everyone on epic hot streak

Caps getting goals from everyone on epic hot streak

Since New Year’s Eve, the Capitals have been scoring goals at a ridiculous rate. In fact, they’ve scored more goals—54 in 11 games—than any other team in that timeframe.

And it’s not really all that close.

Consider:

  • Since the outburst began with a 6-2 over New Jersey on Dec. 31, the Caps have scored five or more goals eight times in 11 contests.
  • After Thursday’s 7-3 win in St. Louis, they’ve scored five or more goals in five straight games for the first time since February 2010.
  • They’ve chased four goalies from the opposing net: Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky; Chicago’s Corey Crawford; Philly’s Steve Mason; and St. Louis’ Jake Allen (twice).
  • Of the 54 goals, only seven have come on the power play.
  • Eighteen different players have scored. (Defensive defenseman Brooks Orpik needs to get with the program.)
  • During this prolific 11-game run, Justin Williams leads all Caps in with eight goals. Meanwhile, T.J. Oshie is second with six goals and Brett Connolly and Alex Ovechkin are tied for third with five.
  • The Caps are now averaging 3.20 goals per game, up from the 3.02 they scored a year ago.

RELATED: Caps' offense explodes again in rout of Blues

Over the first two-plus months of the season, offense was hard to come by for the Caps, who hovered around mid-pack in goals per game. These days, however, it seems almost every shot is finding the back of the net—and they couldn’t be enjoying it more.

“It’s always fun to score and see that a lot of different guys scored, too,” Marcus Johansson told reporters at Scottrade Center, where he recorded goal No. 15 on the season. “It’s good for the team and good for the confidence.”

The Capitals have also scored the first goal in each of the last nine games.

“It’s hard to score in this league, but it’s a lot easier and it’s a lot less draining when you score first,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “You’re not chasing the game. There’s a lot more demand on every detail when you’re chasing the game because if you give up another one, it’s a bigger hole.”

Williams is as a hot as anyone in the league right now, but he still felt the need to issue a bit of warning to his teammates: Just because the goals are coming easily (and in big bunches) doesn’t mean they can count on it every night. They've still got to remain committed to the details that vaulted them to the top of the NHL standings.   

“It’s actually kinda strange now that everything seems to be going in,” he said. “I think internally you have to recognize the process and not get carried away with [the fact] that we’re scoring five, six, seven goals a night. That’s not going to last. You ride the highs [but] we need to understand reality.”

MORE CAPITALS: Caps chase Jake Allen...twice

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Knicks

5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Knicks

Here are five plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 113-110 win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night that are worth revisiting...

1. This first highlight was no precursor whatsoever to the game Carmelo Anthony was about to have, because he went off for a game-high 34 points, including a Knicks-record 23 points in the third quarter. 

But this one was a play he would like to forget. Melo had a wide open chipshot in the first quarter and completely airballed it:

2. John Wall led the Wizards with 29 points, 13 assists and three steals. Two of his points came on this nice left-handed slam in the first half:

3. Wall was just getting warmed up there. In this highlight he blows past Ron Baker and finishes for two:

4. Kristaps Porzingis returned for the Knicks after missing four straight games with a sore left Achilles'. It wasn't enough to lead New York to a win, but he did have this ridiculous putback dunk:

5. That dunk was nice, but this one sealed the victory for the Wizards. Here is Wall getting the rebound and taking it all the way for two with just :13 seconds left. Did he double-dribble? Who cares? The refs didn't catch it:

[RELATED: Wall and Beal not named All-Star starters, but there is a silver lining]