Sky guard Epiphanny Prince drives the lane during the team’s 75-71 overtime loss to the host Washington Mystics on Sunday. Prince scored a team-high 18 points. | Ned Dishman~Getty Images
Updated: August 19, 2012 10:48PM
WASHINGTON — The Sky and Washington both desperately needed a victory. The Mystics proved clutch when it counted.
Matee Ajavon scored 22 points and Jasmine Thomas made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 16 seconds left in overtime as the Washington Mystics outlasted the Sky 75-71 on Sunday to snap an eight-game losing streak against the Sky.
Crystal Langhorne had 18 points for the last-place Mystics (5-16), who had lost two straight and played for the third time in four days since returning from the month-long Olympic break.
“Man, this game is so huge for us because we desperately need wins in the second half, as far as playoffs go,” said Ajavon, whose 3 with 1.7 seconds left in regulation tied the game. “Every win, every play, every second counts.”
Epiphanny Prince scored 18 points and her free throws with 26.7 seconds left in overtime put the Sky (8-11) up 71-70. Ajavon fouled out on the play so her backcourt mate Thomas stepped up on the next possession with her first field goal since the first half, putting Washington in front 73-71.
“We executed the play exactly as we drew it up,” said Thomas, who finished with eight points and a career-high eight assists. “Came off that great screen by (Michelle) Snow. I was open so I shot it.”
Monique Currie tallied 10 points and made two free throws with 7.7 seconds left following a clear path foul.
Sylvia Fowles had 13 points and 16 rebounds for the Sky. One week ago Fowles and Olympic teammate Swin Cash were celebrating a gold medal triumph. Now they are dealing with a six-game losing streak.
“That’s part of the game,” Fowles said. “You come back for the second half, teams are going to be ready, ready to step. Just so happened we ran across Washington. They played well collectively as a team and they came out with a W. We have to take from this moment and move on to the next one. We don’t really have time to sob and get into it.”
Washington had not defeated Chicago since June 19, 2010, with two of the losses coming earlier this season.
The Sky turned a nine-point fourth quarter deficit into a 60-57 lead with 1:43 remaining as Cash’s jumper capped a 14-2 run. Prince sank two free throws with 10 seconds remaining for a 62-59 advantage, but Ajavon’s 3 over Le’coe Willingham tied the game.
Both sides labored offensively in the first half, though Washington closed the second quarter on a 16-4 run for a 28-25 halftime lead.
Ajavon scored 12 points and outscored Chicago 9-6 in the second quarter as the Sky set season-lows for fewest points in a quarter and in a first half.
“(Washington) hit some big shots, those are the ones you always remember, “Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. “In the fourth quarter we held them to seven points up until Matee hit that three, but you need that energy, teamwork and trust early on and maybe it doesn’t become a one possession game.”
The Mystics jumped ahead in the third quarter, shooting 71 percent (10 of 14) and opened up their largest lead at 48-39 on Snow’s jumper with 1:48 left in the period.
After Sonja Petrovic’s jumper gave the Sky a 21-12 lead, Chicago missed its final 11 shots of the second quarter and finished 8 of 30 (27 percent) for the half. Cash made Chicago’s first attempt in the third quarter and scored 10 of her 12 points after halftime.
Washington celebrated its 15th year in the league by honoring its All-Time team, including Langhorne and Chamique Holdsclaw, as selected by a fan vote.