WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nakia Sanford and Chasity Melvin were too much
for the Chicago Sky.
Sanford scored a career-high 25 points, Melvin added 20 points
and 10 rebounds and the Washington Mystics snapped a two-game
losing streak by beating the Sky 89-83 Sunday.
"We've been together three years now, so it wasn't any surprise
to me," Melvin said of the duo's performance. "Everybody keeps
forgetting that we started together two years ago, and we were
Sanford, who entered the game averaging 8.4 points, scored 11 in
the third quarter. The Mystics needed every one against a Chicago
team that closed within two four times in the second half, and
three times in the third period.
Melvin scored the final four points of the game, including two
free throws with 9 seconds left. It was a promising sign for a
tandem again starting together, in part because DeLisha
Milton-Jones may be out for the rest of the regular season with a
left MCL sprain.
"I haven't seen these numbers before," Mystics coach Richie
Adubato said. "We had 45 points between (Sanford and Melvin). That
means we really moved the ball around, found people on the inside.
They were able to power up and score a lot around the basket."
And Adubato knows what Sanford's secret was.
"Layups -- that's how she got all her points," Adubato said.
"I could've had that many if I had layups like that."
Bernadette Ngoyisa led five Sky players in double figures with
17 points, including 13 in the second half. But she fouled out with
50 seconds to play, and Sanford got her last point on an ensuing
free throw to make it 85-79.
Amanda Lassiter added 17 points for Chicago and Chelsea Newton
scored a career-high 15. Jia Perkins and Candice Dupree each scored
12 points for the Sky, who failed in their attempt to win
consecutive games for the first time.
"The weakside help, that was where we had a problem," Chicago
coach Dave Cowens said. "Normally, it's been pretty good. But
tonight, that's what fell down."
Crystal Robinson scored 14 points for Washington. Alana Beard, in her
second game back from a right ankle sprain, added 10 points a day
after being announced as a reserve for the Eastern Conference in
Wednesday's All-Star game.
Nikki McCray, the second-leading scorer in Mystics' history, was
honored at halftime. A tearful McCray, who announced her retirement
on June 28, thanked the fans she played in front of from 1998-2001.
McCray played 11 games for the Sky this year.