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Beard's 14 points helps offset Sales' effort

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Without Chamique Holdsclaw, the Washington
Mystics used balanced scoring for a 69-68 victory over the
Connecticut Sun Friday night.

Rookie Alana Beard had 14 points for the Mystics, and Murriel
Page and Nakia Sanford each scored a season-high 13 points.

"That's how we play in practice, we have people who can
score," said Beard, who entered the game averaging 20.5 points in
her last six outings. "I don't even want to talk about Chamique
right now, but as a team I thought we played awesome tonight. It's
not just me, it's everyone."

Holdsclaw, the WNBA's second leading scorer with 19.0 points,
has missed two of the last three games because of an undisclosed
medical condition.

Nykesha Sales led the Sun (13-13) with 23 points, a career-high
eight assists and five rebounds. Lindsay Whalen had 11 points and
seven rebounds. Katie Douglas added 10 points.

Sales' running jumper brought the Sun within 66-65 with 30
seconds left, but the Mystics made free throws to seal the win.

Stacey Dales-Schuman had eight points and a career-high 10
assists for the last-place Mystics (11-14), who snapped a two-game
losing streak. Aiysha Smith matched her career-high with 10 points
and six rebounds to help Washington avoid being swept in the
four-game season series.

"It was a whole team effort for us tonight," Mystics coach
Michael Adams said. "To get this win, we needed everybody to
perform."

Washington led 41-34 at halftime.

"It came down to offensive rebounds and missed free throws,"
Sun coach Mike Thibault said. "We were 3for15 from 3-point range
and 11 for 20 from the free-throw line. That won't win too many
games."

Holdsclaw, the WNBA's third-leading rebounder, will miss
Sunday's game against Phoenix before the league takes a monthlong
break for the Olympics.

"I feel no extra pressure," Beard said of playing without
Holdsclaw. "It's not a one-person thing."