Becky Hammon scored 22 points to lead the San Antonio Silver Stars to their 12th straight victory, 75-72 against the Washington Mystics on Tuesday night. Danielle Robinson added 16 points and Sophia Young 13 for the Silver Stars (16-5). Coming off their largest margin of victory of the season -- 42 points Sunday at Phoenix -- the Silver Stars had to fend off a late rally to beat the Mystics. "Because we won by so much against Phoenix, coming in here, I think we may have taken Washington for granted a little bit," Young said. "I don't think we brought enough energy." Crystal Langhorne had 17 points, including 11 in the final quarter, to lead Washington (5-17) on a late rally. Jasmine Thomas also scored 17 points and Monique Currie had 12. After shooting 45 percent against the Mercury, the Silver Stars missed 24 of 37 shots in the first half against the Mystics. "(Missed) some shots?" Hammon said. "(We missed) all the shots. It was rough going there. That happens. What you want to do is keep playing defense, try to stay within striking distance or maintain a little bit of a lead because you know the shooting is eventually going to come around." Leading by one point at halftime, the Silver Stars outscored Washington 26-12 in the third quarter totake a commanding lead into the fourth. "We talked about what we needed to do (in the second half)," Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said. "The main thing is San Antonio came out more focused and played with more sense of urgency in the third quarter than we did." Hammon scored 12 points in the third, opening with a 3-pointer and a driving layup to extend San Antonio's lead to 40-32. She added another 3 following a layup by Robinson to extend the Silver Stars' advantage to 47-37 with 5:23 left in the third. "When our posts sprint down to that block, it puts a lot of pressure on them because most of the time it's a guard," Hammon said. "I know I got a couple of 3s in transition, but it's because our post players ran and pulled all that defense." Washington pulled within six points late in the fourth. Currie opened the rally, hitting a jumper to cut the lead to 63-52 with 7 minutes left. Langhorne hit two jumpers to pull Washington to 67-61 with 4 minutes remaining. "I have to compliment Washington," San Antonio coach Dan Hughes said. "They just competed and they were physical and tough minded. They didn't go away. I mean, we put them down 15 points and they kept coming back." Robinson hit her second straight short jumper to give San Antonio a 71-62 edge a minute later. Robinson scored six of her points in the final 3 minutes to help the Silver Stars preserve their win streak. "Wasn't that amazing -- from a standpoint of shot-making," Hughes said of Robinson. "We moved the ball well, but if your strategy is to leave her open, she's evolving into an excellent mid-range shooter. Those were pressure shots." San Antonio's Shameka Christon stole a crosscourt pass with less than two minutes remaining on a 3-on-2 break and the Mystics trailing 71-65. Young hit one of two free throws on the next possession. Washington closed to 75-72 on Thomas' 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining, but Young was able to dribble out the clock after getting behind the defense on the ensuing inbounds. Despite going 3 for 15 to open the game, San Antonio tied the game at 9-all on a pair of free throws by Young. Post Jayne Appel had four of her game-high 10 rebounds in the first 5 minutes. Washington didn't fare much better offensively, going 3 for 13 in the first quarter. Hughes was assessed a technical foul with 3 minutes left in the first half after throwing his jacket onto the bench and had to be restrained by Young. Hughes was upset with a no call when Robinson lost the ball on a contested layup on a fastbreak. The technical sparked a pair of 3-pointers by Hammon that gave the Silver Stars a 33-27 lead. The Mystics cut the deficit on a 3-pointer by Thomas and a long jumper by Currie with 0.2 seconds left. Currie's shot was initially ruled a 3 but changed after a video review at the half. NOTES: Two bats were flying around the court at the AT&T Center before the game and during the first half. Hammon attempted to knock them down by tossing a basketball at them twice during pregame warmups. ... San Antonio F Tangela Smith appeared in her first home this year after missing the opening months following left knee surgery during the offseason.
OWINGS MILLS - When the Ravens drafted left tackle Ronnie Stanley, he never expected to sing in front of teammates wearing a chicken suit.
Welcome to the Ravens, and to the traditional rookie talent contest. Stanley led off this year’s draft class as the first-round pick, and apparently, he was a hit. The chicken suit was courtesy of wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., who purchased it for Stanley.
Where exactly do you find a chicken suit that fits somebody 6-foot-6, 320 pounds? But Smith found one. If you are a smart rookie, you don’t say no to Steve Smith. That left Stanley with no choice but to perform wearing the suit.
Stanley chose the R. Kelly song “Ignition Remix” for his selection.
“I knew it was crowd pleaser,” Stanley said after Thursday’s practice. “I know every word to the song. That was the song I picked, so I was practicing all throughout this break that we had.”
Under the circumstances, Stanley felt he did well.
“I actually didn’t know about the chicken suit until yesterday,” Stanley said. “I did what I had to do. I knew since I was going first, I had to set the tone. That was the first time I sang in a chicken suit.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh was impressed.
“He did a great job and we had fun,” Harbaugh said. “It’s nice when your first-round pick, kind of the leader of the rookie class, is able to step up and make a statement about that. I can fit in, so to speak.”
No word on if Stanley plans to go on tour after the season.
OWINGS MILLS -- The Ravens deep running back group grew a little thinner – at least temporarily – on Thursday as rookie Kenneth Dixon left the first training camp practice after tweaking his left knee and Lorenzo Taliaferro was placed on the preseason physically-unable-to-perform list with a lingering foot injury.
Dixon had been very active in the noncontact practice, especially as a pass catcher. But as he caught one pass near the left sideline in an 11-on-11 drill, he was inadvertently bumped out of bounds by linebacker Patrick Onwauasor and fell hard to the ground. Dixon was slow to get up and was ultimately helped off the field by Justin Forsett and a trainer.
Dixon has “a slight thing with the knee,” coach John Harbaugh said after practice. “He should be fine.”
Taliaferro sustained a foot injury last year and had surgery that ultimately ended his season in October.
"Not that there's a big issue with it," Harbaugh said of Taliaferro's foot, "but it's not quite there yet."
Entering his third season, Taliaferro is fighting for a roster spot after missing 16 of 32 games over his first two seasons. Forsett, Buck Allen and Dixon all appear to be locks to make the team, leaving Taliaferro competing for a potential fourth running spot with Terrance West and perhaps Trent Richardson, though he, too, is injured.
Taliaferro joins five other Ravens who had previously been placed on the preseason PUP list – receivers Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman, linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs, and Richardson.
Players can be activated from the PUP list and return to practice at any time during training camp. If they begin the regular season on the PUP list, they must sit out the first six games.
In addition to Taliaferro’s absence, three players sat out Thursday's practice because they haven’t passed the conditioning test: wide receiver Mike Wallace, cornerback Jerraud Powers and newly signed wide receiver Dobson Collins.
Reynaldo Lopez: 9 inn, 4 H, 0 R, 7 K, 0 BB
Surprise, surprise: Lopez threw a gem last Sunday. The righty threw 96 pitches, 66 for strikes as he went the distance and shutout Rochester. He'll be back in DC, in some form or another, soon.
Phillips Valdez: 7 inn, 6 H, 2 R, 2 K, 2 BB
Slimer pickings in Harrisburg. Valdez pitched well enough to get the win against New Hampshire. A week ago, he went 7 inn, 8 H, 2 R, and 4 K in a win against Richmond, if you prefer more walks hits to less walks. Still, Harrisburg is feeling the pinch of no more Giolito/Lopez.
Whit Mayberry: 6 inn, 5 H, 1 R, 4 K, 3 BB
Mayberry, whose 3-1 on the year with a 4.00 ERA, pitched one of the best games of his season yesterday. It was only the second time this year he's held a team under two runs, and his 4 strikeouts were one shy from his season best (7) on June 30th.
Everyone who pitched for the Suns on 7/24: 9 inn, 7 H, 2 R, 7 K, 2 BB
It was a group effort in the Suns win against Charleston last Sunday. It was also a Nats reunion, with rehabbing starter Joe Ross getting the start and Sammy Solis continuing to rehab as well. It was James Borque, however, who got the win, pitching 4 innings while allowing one run on two hits.