Mitchell falls for first time this year

District rival St. Petersburg puts an end to Mitchell's 19-game win streak.

By ERIC MUSKATEVC Times Correspondent
Published January 17, 2007

NEW PORT RICHEY - A loss is a loss, of course.

But don't tell Mitchell.

"Because it's never a good loss," said Mustangs coach Stephanie Koslin, a bit detached but smiling Tuesday night despite witnessing the end to Mitchell's perfect season 50-40 to St. Petersburg. "I've been better."

Going head to head against an aggressive, physical Green Devils team they had beaten by nine on the road earlier in the season, the Mustangs were caught flat in their zone defense and allowed the taller, more athletic Green Devils to grab offensive rebounds and create foul trouble quickly for Mitchell.

Even at home, the Mustangs couldn't overcome the deficit with their 3-point shooting and took their first loss after starting the season with 19 straight wins. They didn't need to be told about it either.

"We didn't box out. I mean, at all," said Kristi Hopper, who was 4-of-8 from the 3-point line for part of her team-high 18 points. "Its better than losing to them in districts and I guess you have to be at the bottom to get to the top sometimes."

Tied at 11 after one quarter, Mitchell managed just four second-quarter points and went into halftime down 20-15. Coming out, Joanna Bussa, who finished with nine points, had to sit in foul trouble. Taylor Lunin finished with seven rebounds, three steals and four assists (all team highs).

When it seemed like the Mustangs would start draining 3s, they didn't and allowed St. Petersburg's Latoya Davis to score more than half of her 14 points on offensive rebounds. "You can't always rely on your shooting to pull out," Koslin said. "I think we can get the girls focused and ready to match St. Pete (13-5) again."