WASHINGTON (AP) - The Washington Mystics turned up the defensive pressure to put the brakes on their losing streak.
Crystal Langhorne scored 23 points, Nicky Anosike added 13 points and 10 rebounds, and the Mystics snapped a four-game skid with an 83-63 win over the Tulsa Shock on Sunday.
``When you have four losses in a row, that can easily turn into five, six, seven,' Anosike said. ``I think we were just desperate and we played desperate tonight.'
Matee Ajavon added 21 points, while Marissa Coleman finished with 13 points and a career-high 12 rebounds for the Mystics (2-5), who got their first home win this season and avenged an 18-point loss at Tulsa eight days ago.
The defending Eastern Conference regular-season champions entered the game allowing opponents to shoot 50 percent from the field, but held Tulsa to 35.3 (24 for 68) percent and less than 20 points in each quarter. The Mystics' up-tempo offense took care of business on the other end, holding a 19-4 advantage in fast-break points.
``We're pretty good when can defend, get out and run a little bit,' said Mystics coach Trudi Lacey, whose youthful team never trailed. ``We have been growing up a little bit day by day. I'm not a mother, but it is like raising children, so it was good to get the win.'
Liz Cambage scored 15 points and Sheryl Swoopes added 11 points for the Shock (1-8), but the duo combined to score only four points in the second half. Tulsa has lost three straight overall and 14 consecutive road games dating to last season.
``It's got to be mind hurting because you work so hard in practice and you don't get a paycheck, which is a victory,' Shock coach Nolan Richardson said of his team's struggles away from home. ``That can wear on anyone.'
The Mystics opened the game with nine straight points, led 41-35 at halftime and then outscored the Shock 20-10 in the third quarter behind eight points from Langhorne, who also had 11 turnovers. Rounding out the all-around effort, the Mystics held a 43-29 rebounding advantage despite the presence of the 6-foot-8 Cambage.
``We've had games where we let up, simply let up,' said Ajavon, who added six assists and four steals. ``To make our mark defensively, offensively was big for our confidence.'
The lead only grew larger in the fourth quarter as the Mystics were up 77-53.
``We've been in deeper holes than this and were able to fight back,' Richardson said. ``We couldn't make any shots tonight.'
The struggles for the Mystics early in the season stem largely from their collective youth - their top four current reserves are all rookies - not having four starters from last season, and still playing without the injured Alana Beard.
``It's a work in progress, said Lacey, who moved up from the assistant to head coaching role this season. ``We're on the right track.'
Notes: Former Butler star and Washington Wizards second-round pick Shelvin Mack attended the game.
The Associated Press News Service
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