Chicago Sky v Washington Mystics
Updated: July 1, 2012 12:35PM
WASHINGTON — Sylvia Fowles had 23 points and 12 rebounds and helped key a big first-half run in the Sky’s 69-57 victory Saturday over the Washington Mystics in the season opener for both teams.
Epiphanny Prince scored 13 of her 16 points in the first half, and Swin Cash added 14 points in her first game for the Sky.
Crystal Langhorne led the Mystics with 16 points. Monique Currie, who missed all but four games last season because of a knee injury, added 14 points.
The Sky led by 15 points in the first half and 38-25 at halftime, but Washington opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run and pulled to 52-45 on Jasmine Thomas’ basket late in the third quarter. The Mystics would get no closer as the Sky opened the fourth quarter on a 14-5 run, capped by Cash’s second three-pointer.
“We still have some wrinkles we have to straighten out, but this was a good start and definitely a test for us to see what we were made of,” said Fowles, the reigning WNBA defensive player of the year.
Dating to last season, the Mystics have lost five consecutive games and 14 of 15.
The Sky swept four games from the Mystics last season.
“I was not anticipating us coming out on the court with this type of effort,” Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said.
Both teams struggled to maintain possession. The Mystics committed 23 turnovers — 16 in the first half — that led to 25 points for the Sky, which finished with 21 turnovers.
“Decisions, passes, simple things like pass and catch the basketball,’’ Lacey said, ‘‘I would expect players with experience who have been in the league to make better decisions than we did early on.”
The Mystics made their first three shots for a 6-0 lead, prompting Sky coach Pokey Chatman to call a timeout 59 seconds into the game. The Sky countered with six consecutive points, took the lead for good at 9-8 on Cash’s free throw and led 18-12 after the first quarter.
Another quick six points started the second quarter for the Sky, and Prince’s driving layup with 5:47 left in the half gave the Sky its largest lead at 31-16.
“I’m excited about the new faces that we have on the team, but at the same time, it’s still Chicago; nothing has changed,” said Fowles, who has spent her entire five-year career with the Sky. “Once we make it to the playoffs, that’s when I’ll be like, it was worth it.”