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Sales' scores 20, gets key steal in Sun's win over Mystics

WASHINGTON -- Nykesha Sales had 20 points and the Connecticut Sun opened the season with a road win for the first time in franchise history with an 89-80 victory over the Washington Mystics on Saturday.

After Nakia Sanford's jumper pulled the Mystics to 81-80 with 59 seconds remaining, the Sun made eight straight free throws capped by Katie Douglas' pair with 16.7 seconds left.

Sales stripped the ball from DeLisha Milton-Jones with 43 seconds left and Lindsay Whalen, helped by a Mystics' lane violation, made two free throws for an 85-80 lead.

Whalen, who had 18 points and four steals, made four free throws during the Sun's 8-0 game-ending run. Two came from a flagrant foul on Crystal Robinson that ended the Mystics' chances with 21.1 seconds left.

Chasity Melvin led the Mystics with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Milton-Jones added 20 points and three blocks.

Douglas' 3-pointer from the left wing gave the Sun the lead for good at 81-78 with 1:45 remaining.

Milton-Jones' 3-pointer gave the Mystics, who trailed by nine points in the first half, their first lead of the second half at 75-74 with 4:45 remaining in fourth quarter.

Sales had 13 points and Whalen added 10 in the first half to lead Connecticut to a 49-42 halftime lead.

The Sun's Asjha Jones left with a bloody nose midway through the first quarter. She returned and finished with six points, six rebounds and four assists.

Mystics guard Alana Beard, a 2006 WNBA second-team selection who averaged 15.4 points last season, missed the game with a strained left shoulder. She is expected to return Tuesday night when the Mystics host the Sacramento Monarchs.