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WNBA: Mystics fend off Sky, maintain hold on final playoff spot

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Tina Charles dropped 31 points and 10 rebounds and led the visiting Washington Mystics on a big first-half run Sunday en route to a 79-71 win over the Chicago Sky.

Natasha Cloud added 16 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and Washington (12-18) held on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the league standings with a week left in the regular season.

Azura Stevens led the Sky with 18 points, and Candace Parker had 12 points with 11 rebounds on 5 of 12 shooting. Guard Allie Quigley added 15 points.

Charles, the WNBA’s leading scorer, drilled a clutch 3 with 1:39 to play after Chicago had cut an 18-point second-half deficit to two, 71-69. She went 4 of 8 from beyond the arc.

Chicago (15-15) led 14-9 in the first quarter before Washington took over. The Mystics went on a 15-0 run to finish out the period, ending it with Leilani Mitchell’s 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 24-14 lead.

The ice-cold Sky finally ended its long scoring drought with a Quigley free throw at the 8:31 mark of the second quarter. Then Charles and Mitchell hit back-to-back 3s for a 30-15 Washington lead with 7:08 left in the half.

In the third quarter, Sky head coach James Wade subbed out four of the five players on the court right before the Mystics stretched their lead to 56-38. Then Chicago’s effort level went up.

A 3 and layup from Dana Evans made it 61-53 after three quarters, and Chicago made it 69-66 with 3:55 left in the game on Parker’s pass to Quigley for a short jumper in transition.

The Mystics remained without star Elena Della Donne, who has missed six straight games due to injury.

–Field Level Media

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