Mystics fall to Liberty


Mystics fall to Liberty

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Trailing by nine points with about nine minutes remaining, a loss to last place Washington could have dealt a serious blow to the New York Liberty's playoff chances.

However, thanks to Cappie Pondexter, Nicole Powell and some stifling defense, the Liberty remain in control of their future.

Pondexter had 30 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, and 11 rebounds as the Liberty rallied to beat the Mystics 75-68.

"Defense is our key," Liberty coach John Whisenant said. "And Cappie. She's been awesome. She's our MVP and the most important player to her team of anybody in the league."

Powell scored 10 of her 18 points in the fourth quarter as well and Essence Carson added 15 points as New York (14-17) won its third straight.

The Liberty retained a one game lead over Chicago for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Sky beat Phoenix 86-55.

Jasmine Thomas scored 16 points (on 7-of-11 shooting) and Monique Currie had 12 to lead the Washington (5-27), which has lost 11 straight.

"I think we played a tough game. We fought through until the end," Currie said. "They executed better than we did. They made some tough shots, some big shots."

After Washington scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to take a 56-49 lead, Pondexter scored the first six of an 8-0 run by the Liberty. The Mystics pushed the lead to 63-58 with 4:36 left and New York called timeout.

"When it looked like they could take over the game with about four minutes left, we had a time out, talked about it, and regrouped," Pondexter said.

Powell's 3-pointer tied the score at 63 with 2:50 left and her short jumper gave the Liberty a 67-65 lead with 1:34 to play.

"Nicole made some huge shots down the stretch," Pondexter said.

After a miss by Currie, Kara Braxton scored on a layup off a nice pass from Pondexter to make it 69-65 with 48 seconds left.

"I think we stepped up our defensive intensity when it mattered most," Pondexter said.

Matee Ajavon missed a short jumper and Pondexter hit two three throws. Thomas's 3-pointer made it 71-68 with 19 seconds to go, but the Mystics got no closer.

"Coming into the stretch I don't know if it's a loss of focus, or what it is, but we have to figure it out," said Thomas.

The Liberty outrebounded the Mystics 13-4 in the fourth quarter.

"We only gave them one shot so we were blocking out well," Whisenant said. "Nicole Powell got a couple of rebound putbacks that were critical when the basket was shrinking up on us a little bit."

The Mystics' Ashley Robinson finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Washington outscored New York 19-12 in the third quarter and built a five-point lead as the Liberty hit just 5-of-22 field goals.

Washington played without leading scorer Crystal Langhorne (14.7 ppg), who left Friday's loss to Atlanta with a left foot sprain, and Noelle Quinn (6.5 ppg), out with an injured right shoulder.

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After quiet day in Detroit, Redskins Pierre Garçon says 'we always try to go deep'

After quiet day in Detroit, Redskins Pierre Garçon says 'we always try to go deep'

DETROIT - Looking at quarterback Kirk Cousins' stat line from Sunday's game against the Lions, and the Redskins passer certainly had a good day. Completing nearly 77 percent of his passes and going over 300 yards, Cousins moved the Washington offense efficiently for much of the game.

Yet, receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon combined for 55 total yards. Jackson, arguably the best vertical threat in the NFL, had a long catch of 12 yards. Yep, 12 yards. 

Cousins' longest pass for the game went to Vernon Davis for 27 yards. In fact, Davis and Jamison Crowder combined for 13 catches and nearly 200 yards, though much of their work was done in underneath spots. With a depleted secondary, the Lions defense largely played deep zone, keeping the best options to move the ball short, and Cousins proved quite capable of completing passes, going 30 of 39 for the game.

But after a tough loss - especially after it seemed the Redskins and Cousins would pull off an extraordinary win - some might question if the 'Skins offense became too reliant on shallow drag and crossing routes and did not look down field enough. 

Garcon, however, refuted that.

"I guess that's just how the game flowed because we always try to go deep but you know things are called but we don't have time or they play a different coverage," Garçon said. "We can't really control it."

The deep ball does not always equal a win for the Redskins either. Cousins' longest pass this season (57 yards) came in a Week 2 loss to Dallas and in a win over Baltimore the QB's longest pass was also 27 yards, same as in Detroit. 

Moving the ball is moving the ball - and Cousins does it well. After a four-game win streak snapped by a dispiriting loss in Detroit, Redskins fans should expect plenty of fans about the long ball. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes or press play below.

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Caps reveal Halloween costumes

Caps reveal Halloween costumes

Halloween is still a week away, but with the Caps preparing for a long road trip, Halloween came early.

The team had a Halloween party Sunday with many of the players dressing up in costume.

Halloween party in D.C. 👻🎃🎃🎃

A photo posted by Alexander Ovechkin (@aleksandrovechkinofficial) on

Alex Ovechkin and his wife, Nastya Shubskaya, appeared to coordinate with Ovechkin dressing up as an inmate and Shubskaya dressing up as a cop. Orlov, who is tagged on the Instagram post as the second person from the right, is dressed up as...the Joker? I think?

Several other players and their wives also got in on the fun.


A photo posted by Gina Carlson (@gnacarlson) on

Mr. and Mrs. Smith 2.0

A photo posted by Lauren Oshie (@loshie17) on

Not to be outdone, Tom Wilson and Andre Burakovsky also joined in on the fun tweeting out their costumes. Fans of the movie "Step Brothers" will enjoy this.

And then there was Zach Sanford....

Rookies in professional sports sometimes have to take on...additional duties. For Sanford, that meant leading the party in a stirring rendition of the song "Sweet Caroline." Thankfully, Ovechkin filmed it.

Caps boys here👍💪

A video posted by Alexander Ovechkin (@aleksandrovechkinofficial) on

Welcome to the NHL, kid.

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