Mystics seek repreive from losing ways against Storm

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Mystics seek repreive from losing ways against Storm

The matchup: The Mystics (2-7) finish their three-game road trip with a stop Sunday in Seattle (7 p.m. ET), a locale that has hardly been accommodating over the years, but where they now hope to salvage their left coast excursion. After being routed in Los Angeles, Washington blew a late lead at Phoenix on Wednesday for its second straight loss and sixth in seven games. Now the Mystics look to snap a six-game skidon the Storms home court, a place they have not emerged victorious from since2005. Their timing is not ideal, as the Storm (4-7) have found their way with three straight victories and alsoswept the 2011 season series. The home-and home scenario concludes Tuesday when the two sides meet at the Verizon Center.Last time out: Behind another sterling interior effort from center Michelle Snow and Monique Curries bench scoring, the Mystics led the shorthanded Mercury 74-69 with 2:26 remaining. It did not go so well from there, outscored 11-3 the rest of the way for an 80-77 loss. Phoenixs eight active players struggled from distance throughout, but drilled consecutive 3-pointers in the closing stretch and made their free throws, something the Mystics failed to accomplish.One, we left them Mercury open for two wide-open threes, and really down the stretch we missed our free throws, Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said after he squad shot 46.7 percent (7 of 15) from the foul line. If we hadnt missed our free throws, it wouldnt have been the game. I think that those two things really hurt us down the stretch...we just needed to close it out and we didnt.Still Snow-ing: Starting her fourth straight game, Snow led the Mystics with 21 points on 9 of 12 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds. The 10-year veteran, one of the several new players added this offseason, has scored 36 points in her last two games after scoring 32 over the first seven games. The 6-foot-5 glass-eating center has averaged 10 rebounds per game during the four-game starting stretch.Mo Currie required: A career 37-percent shooter from beyond the arc, Currie entered Phoenix having missed all nine of her 3-point attempts over her previous four games.Perhapstaking to her bench role,Currie got hot from deep and elsewhere in the Valley of the Sun, sinking 3 of 5 from long range and 8 of 16 overall. We just need to win, so whatever I can bring to the table, or what anyone can bring to the table, were willing to do it and trying to do it, Currie said of adjusting to not being in the starting lineup. Were just trying to get the best out of everyone. Storm clouds lifting: Without all-everything center Lauren Jackson the Aussie is preparing for the upcoming summer Olympics the Storm labored early in the season with losses in six of seven games. Now, Seattles remaining stars are directing a charge back up the standings, led by point guard Sue Bird (12.4 points, 5.3 assists). Former Mystics Katie Smith (7.5 points) and Victoria Dunlap are also part of the Storms roster. Smith scored 13 points and knocked down three 3-pointers in Friday's 92-76 win over San Antonio. Dunlap, part of the trade that brought Crystal Robinson to Washington, could missSunday's game while recovering from a concussion.

No. 20 Creighton gets revenge on Georgetown at home

No. 20 Creighton gets revenge on Georgetown at home

OMAHA, Neb. -- Marcus Foster scored a career-high 35 points and No. 20 Creighton broke open the game early in the second half in an 87-70 victory over Georgetown on Sunday.

Creighton (22-5, 9-5 Big East) shot 53 percent while avenging a 20-point road loss to the Hoyas on Jan 25. Georgetown (14-13, 5-9) shot just 38.5 percent in its first game since Feb. 11 and was 3 of 22 from 3-point range.

Isaiah Zierden added 13 points and Justin Patton and Cole Huff had 10 apiece for the Bluejays.

L.J. Peak, held to two points over the first 16 minutes, finished with 23 to lead Georgetown.

Khyri Thomas, scoreless in the first half, blocked Peak's shot from under the basket and then hit a 3-pointer during a 19-6 run that gave Creighton a 60-44 lead. The spurt also featured two 3s by Foster and a couple of dunks by Patton, who was on the bench for the last 8 minutes of the first half with two fouls.

The Hoyas looked to be gaining momentum as they pulled within 66-55, but then they went scoreless for nearly 4 1/2 minutes.

Rodney Pryor added 16 points and Jessie Govan had 12 for the Hoyas.

Foster was 13 of 19 from the field and finished his big game with a 3-pointer in the final minute.

The Bluejays rode the shooting of Foster and Huff to a 41-33 halftime lead. Foster and Huff combined for 25 first-half points on 11-of-16 shooting. The Hoyas were 1 for 8 from 3-point range and committed 10 turnovers in the first half.

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Although the Caps lost, it's apparent that they're starting to find their game

Although the Caps lost, it's apparent that they're starting to find their game

NEW YORK—As disappointing as Sunday’s 2-1 loss at Madison Square Garden was for the Caps, Coach Barry Trotz and his players emerged from the visitors’ dressing room heartened by how the team played over the final two periods.

Indeed, there was a distinct difference between the first 20 minutes, during which the Caps were outscored 1-0 and outshot 19-10, and the final 40 minutes, which saw the visitors battle back and threaten to steal a point on the road from a good, well-rested rested opponent.

“We were atrocious in the first,” Trotz said. “We played poorly and [backup goalie Philipp Grubauer] was outstanding. It could have been 5-0 in the first, not 1-0. But we were able to get through that. In the second and third, we had the better chances and [carried] the majority of the play.”

Sunday marked the Caps’ second game back from their six-day bye week. On Saturday, they started slowly and lost to the Red Wings in a shootout. Including that defeat, teams are 3-12-4 in their first game after the mandatory hiatus.

“For us, it was hard to come back after [the] break, have one practice and [then] play,” said Alex Ovechkin, who scored Washington’s lone goal against the Rangers. Saturday’s game in Detroit started at 2 p.m. “and today we played at 12:30. It was kinda tough with no morning skates.”

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Prior to the bye, the Caps had won six games in a row, rolling up five or more goals in all but one of those contests.

It’s too early to say definitely whether Ovechkin and Co. are back. They are, after all, 0-1-1 since returning. But they certainly looked a lot more like their previously dominant selves after doubling the Rangers up in shots, 22-11, over the second and third periods in an entertaining matinee on Broadway.

So what was the difference between the first period and the rest of the game? Trotz didn’t mince his words.    

“We were engaged in the second and third,” he said. “We were winning our battles. We were managing the puck much better. And we really didn’t give up much. Grubi really got all of his work for the most part in the first period and then after that he didn’t have much.”

From where he was standing, Grubauer said he could see the timing and cohesiveness slowly returning to his teammates’ collective game.

“The break was long,” Grubauer said. “Sometimes you have to find that chemistry.”

He added: “That’s not how we wanted to start, giving up those many scoring chances. But we did a pretty good job coming back [and] dominated the second and third periods.”

Defenseman Matt Niskanen agreed with Grubauer’s assessment.

“The second two periods were a lot better than the first [period], and a lot better than yesterday,” Niskanen said. “So it’s a step in the right direction.”

The Caps will take Monday off and then return to practice Tuesday morning in Arlington before heading to Philadelphia for a Wednesday night showdown with the Flyers.

“It was a lot better, that’s for sure,” Nicklas Backstrom said of the final 40 minutes at the Garden. “I thought the first period was not how we play. But we’ve lost two in a row. We’ve got to get back to the way we played before. We’ll have another practice before the next game, so we’ve just got to get back at it.”

MORE CAPITALS: Grubauer not enough as Caps drop goalie duel to Rangers