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Sky rolls in home opener behind Sylvia Fowles 20-20 effort

Updated: July 2, 2013 8:13AM

Injuries forced Sylvia Fowles to miss significant time last season as the Sky fell short of the WNBA playoffs.

She’s healthy in 2013 and ready to dominate.

Her first career 20-20 game and the 13th in league history — 24 points and a career-high 22 rebounds — powered the Sky to an 86-75 victory over the Connecticut Sun in its home opener Friday night at Allstate Arena in front of 6,607 fans.

‘‘Last year, I struggled with injuries after injuries,’’ Fowles said. ‘‘I wanted to get back to the old Syl, and the old Syl just went out there and played and did what she was capable of doing.’’

The All-Star center shot 9-for-19 from the field, grabbed nine offensive rebounds and blocked three shots. She fell two rebounds shy of the WNBA single-game record. Her career high for points is 35, and her previous career high for rebounds was 21.

‘‘Sylvia was an animal,” said rookie Elena Delle Donne, who scored 20 points. ‘‘I’m just glad I was able to witness such a performance, and I’m thrilled she’s on my team because she was absolutely amazing.’’

Another impressive statistic for Fowles was her foul total — zero. She played against 2012 league MVP Tina Charles, who finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds.

‘‘We talked most of training camp about toughness, and that’s what toughness looks like,’’ Sky coach Pokey Chatman said.

Fowles said she has never committed zero fouls in a game.

Fowles missed nine games last season as the team went 14-20. Her health is one reason the Sky might be able to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in its eight seasons.

‘‘I made a promise to myself I would dominate this year and be aggressive,” she said.

Guard Epiphanny Prince added 17 points for the Sky (2-0). The Sun (1-1) struggled from the field, shooting 40 percent compared to the Sky’s 45.7 percent. Allison Hightower scored 20 points and Kara Lawson added 11 for the Sun.

‘‘They look hungry when they should be,’’ Chatman said of her team. ‘‘We’ve been starving for several years here.”

The Sky next faces visiting Tulsa and former Notre Dame standout Skylar Diggins, the No. 3 draft pick, on Sunday.

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