Jones leads Sun to fourth straight win

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Jones leads Sun to fourth straight win

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) -- The Connecticut Sun honored their two Olympians, Asjha Jones and Tina Charles, after Wednesday night's final home game before the London Games.

Jones and Charles held up their end of the bargain against the Washington Mystics. The Sun's post combination led their team to their fourth-straight win an 85-73 victory.

Jones had 22 points and nine rebounds while Charles added 17 points and seven rebounds.

Kara Lawson had 19 points, four assists and a game-high three steals for Connecticut (14-4).

Crystal Langhorne had 19 points and six rebounds for Washington (3-14) and Michelle Snow added 12 points and seven rebounds.

Jones scored her team's first six points and shot 10-of-21 from the floor.

"I was feeling pretty good in warm-ups," Jones said. "One of the first couple of plays we ran was for me to get the ball inside. I made the first shot, and then just kept trying to be aggressive from there."

Jones missed eight of 12 shots in Tuesday's 77-70 win at Washington.

"At our place, I thought we did a pretty good job on her," Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said. "(Tonight showed) why she's an Olympian. She really elevated her game and is tough to stop."

Charles made seven of her 14 field goals.

"With the two of them, it makes it really tough," Lacey said. "We went to try to slow Charles down and Asjha gets going. We try to slow Asjha down and Charles gets going. I really think that was the difference in the game."

The Sun close the first-half of the season at the Chicago Sky on Friday.

The Mystics plays at the New York Liberty that same day.

Washington trailed by 14 points early in the second half when Monique Currie got her team going. She scored five straight points to start a run, and Natalie Novosel ended it with a 3-pointer to cut the Mystics deficit to 53-49 with less than four minutes remainingin the third quarter.

Tan White came off the bench and instantly gave the Sun a spark with a 3-pointer. She added a layup to push Connecticut ahead, 62-49, with less than a minute left in the quarter.

Washington played from behind for most of the first half, but made a late 8-2 run. Snow had back-to-back baskets to start the run.

Two free throws by Novosel cut Connecticut's lead to 36-33 with more than a minute left.

The Sun scored the final baskets of the half. Jones' offensive rebound led to a Lawson bank shot, and Jones added a put-back to give the Sun a 40-33 halftime advantage.

Jones made an open jumper from almost the top of the key to give the Sun a 30-19 lead a minute into the second quarter, their biggest lead of that half.

Connecticut used a 10-0 first quarter run to pull ahead early in the first quarter. Charles had two baskets during that stretch, and Lawson finished it with a steal and an open layup in transition to give the Sun an 18-8 lead with over five minutes left.

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Capitals recall Travis Boyd prior to Wednesday's trip to Philadelphia

Capitals recall Travis Boyd prior to Wednesday's trip to Philadelphia

With the Caps preparing for a trip to Philadelphia, the team recalled forward Travis Boyd from the Hershey Bears on Tuesday.

Boyd, 23, is second on the Bears in points with 43 this season in 53 games. He currently leads the team in assists with 32, a mark that ties him for third in the AHL.

Recalling an extra forward prior to road games has been the M.O. for the Capitals this season. With Andre Burakovsky still hurt, Boyd represents the 13th forward on the roster for Wednesday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Boyd was on the ice Tuesday for practice wearing No. 72.

RELATED: Power Rankings: Bye week blues

 

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Redskins draft countdown: Washington safety Budda Baker

Redskins draft countdown: Washington safety Budda Baker

Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 65 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how they might fit in Washington.

Budda Baker
Safety
Washington

Height: 5-10
Weight: 180
40-yard dash: TBD

Projected draft round: 1

What they’re saying

Tremendously explosive and passionate in his play. Former high school track sprinter with good play speed. Screams off the edge as a blitzer. Always bouncing on balls of his feet just waiting to race to the action on a dead sprint. Plays with smooth backpedal and diagonal shuffle. Has a shiftiness that allows him to mirror change of direction in space . . . Scouts use terms like "winner" and "top notch person" to describe him.

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: This doesn’t take a whole lot of explaining. The Redskins have not had a reliable pair of safeties since they lost Sean Taylor 10 years ago. Su’a Cravens is moving into the strong safety spot. A pick line Baker could solidify the position for years to come.

His passion for the game is a big resume enhancer for McCloughan. He wants players who love football and Baker appears to fit that mold.

Baker plays fast, as in fast enough to cover slot receivers when called upon. McCloughan doesn’t much care for 40 times; he will judge a player’s speed off the tape. But it will be interesting to see how Baker runs at the combine.

At Washington, they sent him after the quarterback on occasion and I could see the Redskins doing that as well. Baker had three sacks last season and in a game I watched him play against USC he had two quarterback hurries that led to interceptions by his teammates.

Potential issues: At 5-10, 180 he is on the small side for a safety, at least one that McCloughan might prefer. His size gives him trouble if he must tackle a tight end or a big running back.

His play against the run is inconsistent. At times, he takes bad angles, can’t get off blocks and misses tackles. But at other times he sniffs out a play and makes a tackle in the backfield.  

Baker might grade out to be more of a late first- or early second-round pick. McCloughan will stick to his draft board for the most part and if the value isn’t there in his opinion he could bypass Baker in favor of a higher graded player despite the need. Or perhaps he can execute a trade and end up with Baker with a pick somehwere in the twenties. 

Bottom line: Right now Baker is Mike Mayock’s fourth-ranked safety. Malik Hooker of Ohio State and Jamal Adams of LSU are likely to be gone by the time the 17th pick is on the clock. Jabrill Peppers, Mayock’s No. 3 safety, is too similar to Cravens and many think he might be a better fit on offense. If they want to get a first-round safety it appears that Baker is the guy.

Certainly, Baker’s size will give McCloughan pause. They can bulk him up some but he could have a problem carrying as many as 200 pounds. Not only could he have problems dealing with bigger players, he could deal with injury problems.

In Baker’s NFL.com profile they compare him to former Colts safety Bob Sanders. Every season in which Sanders played more than 10 games he was a first-team All-Pro. Problem was, he only managed to play in double-digit games in two seasons. The Redskins will be wary of the possibility of getting bursts of great play from someone like Baker with some stints on injured reserve.