Mystics fall 75-72 to the Silver Stars

Mystics fall 75-72 to the Silver Stars

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.

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Barry Trotz heaps praise on Sidney Crosby in wake of World Cup win

Barry Trotz heaps praise on Sidney Crosby in wake of World Cup win

One of the interesting dynamics of a tournament like the World Cup of Hockey is seeing different players and coaches come together on new teams. Teammates become opponents and opponents become teammates. That was the case for Barry Trotz as he joined the coaching staff of a Canadian team led by captain Sidney Crosby.

Crosby is of course the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team that ended the Caps' Presidents' Trophy winning season in the second round. It was the second time the Caps had to watch Crosby hoist the Stanley Cup after losing to him in the playoffs.

But Trotz had nothing but good things to say about Crosby upon his return to Washington after the World Cup.

"There’s a reason that Sidney Crosby is considered the best player on the planet," Trotz said. "He showed that in this tournament, that he was the best player."

RELATED: Holtby returns to Caps looking to 'use all the time I can'

It's hard to argue with that assessment given that Crosby led all players in the tournament with 10 points in just six games. But it was what Crosby did off the ice that impressed Trotz the most.

"My son was in for a day," Trotz said, "Just sitting there playing an iPad and Sid went down and sat with him and played on the iPad for a minute with him and stuff like that. He didn’t have to do that. He just did. I’ve got a lot of respect for guys like that."

While they may have been a part of the same team for the World Cup, however, that doesn't mean Trotz wasn't also scouting Crosby.

As the defending Cup champions, the road to the East likely runs through Pittsburgh. If the Caps hope to finally overcome the playoff hurdle, they will have to beat the Penguins.

So did Trotz learn any secrets on how to beat Crosby?

“I don’t know if it’s secrets," he said. "It’s a real awareness of what he really can do and what you don’t want him to do. So you try to find ways for him to not do what he does."

As the Caps have learned, that's easier said than done.

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DeSean Jackson planning protest of police violence with custom cleats against Browns

DeSean Jackson planning protest of police violence with custom cleats against Browns

Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson was one of the four players to raise his fist during the national anthem last weekend  as a form of protest in solidarity with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick,

But Jackson plans to continue his protest this weekend, making a fashion statement in the process.

The speedster has a pair of custom cleats referencing the string of incidents involving police violence,

TMZ spoke to Jackson and it appears he is planning to wear the cleats in pregame warm-ups and potentially on the field during the Redskins' Week 4 home game against the Browns.

Jackson spoke to TMZ about his message:

"Senseless killings have been ongoing for awhile and police brutality in our black community ... and as a young black leader with a stage and platform I'm starting awareness to help prevent these killings, and hopefully get justice to these cops who have taken lives of innocent human beings."

Jackson says he doesn't just want justice, but also "a change with the decision making on these cop killings."

"I am also coming up with a master plan to start a movement" with the intention of making a real impact.

What that movement is, we don't know yet, but as of now it starts on Sunday. 

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