Hoping to establish the franchise's first-ever three-game win streak, the 2-1 Utah Starzz, above .500 for the first time in history, are picking a sensitive time to stride into the MCI Center.
The WNBA-expansion Washington Mystics (0-3) will hold the first home game in their existence, and they'll be doing it on nationwide television, on the Lifetime cable channel, starting at 6 p.m. MDT.They're calling this Mystics Mayhem Weekend, and they probably don't mean absorbing the kind of mayhem three WNBA teams, including the Starzz, committed against them in their first week. Charlotte initiated them with a 26-point loss. Utah beat them by one for its first win of the season and with one inside player out and three in deep foul trouble. Then Phoenix beat them by 15 points.
The Starzz will still be without guard Chantel Tremitiere (torn calf muscle), who could play Sunday in the New York when a number of family and friends will visit her.
Wendy Palmer (broken toe) is "day-to-day" and has some chance of playing tonight, in Utah's first road game of the year.
The Starzz seemed to have a breakout game Monday night when they clobbered New York 71-60 but led at times by 22, a franchise record. Elena Baranova, 6-foot-5, and 7-2 Margo Dydek were a tremendous defensive force. Baranova is the league-leading rebounder (11.7), seventh in scoring (16.3) and second (2.33) to Dydek (3.67) in blocked shots.
Tammi Reiss scored 15 Monday and Tricia Bader (WNBA leader in 3-point percentage with Tremitiere at .750) had 10 in a backup point-guard role. Reiss has made 11 of 17 shots from the field in her past two games, including four of seven 3-pointers.
Washington is headed by Nikki McCray, who was named MVP of the rival ABL and then jumped ship. She's third in WNBA scoring (21.7). While she had 26 at Utah, Kim Williams held her to seven in the second half. Utah had trouble containing 6-5 Brazilian Alssandra Santo de Oliveira (6-for-9, 19 points, WNBA-record 18 rebounds), and former Utah player Deborah Carter scored eight.